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Capt. Drew Cavanaugh

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About Capt. Drew Cavanaugh

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  1. July 15th, 2013 Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Charter Report With the arrival of summer time here in central Florida we have also received some very nice days and opportunities to get some great sight fishing in on the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River backcountry flats. Whether you are fishing the northern sections up in New Smyrna Beach, Oak Hill and Edgewater or fishing the south end of the lagoons in Titusville and Cocoa Beach, the flats fishing has been outstanding. Despite the recent algae bloom that the northern Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon had, along with the dramatic publicity it has received, it is by no means as bad as the media has portrayed it to be. My eyes see it differently each day I am on the water. Besides that I have been to the dock every day to look for myself. It is definitely not as bad as it was at this exact time last year and I honestly see day after day the waters here clearing up a little at a time. With the afternoon thunderstorms we are getting, steady weather and the nice patterns, it is my opinion it is helping. It actually looks a lot like it should look for this time of year, the hot days of summer time here in Florida. On top of this I have been able to find some areas inside both bodies of waters that contain some “winter” like clean water. The past few weeks I have been able to get my clients on some very high quality sight fishing. On most days we are getting shots not at just a few fish but several. Numerous casts and fish are being landed whether for the intermediate, advanced or the professional grade angler, throughout the day’s charters on the water. Even at times at day’s end they would have seen over a thousand fish that are within rods reach, and right at the boat. How you say? Stealth, patience, distance and accuracy, this is the key to sight fishing. As usual the days will start very early, with no room for movement there if you want a higher quality day on the water. This is for a few different reasons. The redfish, black drum and trout are feeding aggressively at first light and getting onto them as well into position requires one thing. Do not rush it. Take your time when approaching fish on the flats, they will spook very easily. Now do not get me wrong, they will feed almost all of the time and throughout the day, they are animals, but there are times better than others. Plus who does not like the sunrise and that time of the morning where you can just feel the bite. Red drum or redfish are feeding on bait fish like mullet and pinfish along with the usual meal of crabs and shrimp. Look for signs of life on the open flats, birds feeding, bait exploding on the surface, nervous water and so on. At this point in time figure a good game plan out, your approach to them, position you want to be in. Avoid making any excessive noises or movement that you have too. Watch your shadows as the sun comes up, remember they have one big thing on their (reds & trout) mind, death from above. These game fish will spook very easily, not just from sound but physically seeing you as well. We have been getting redfish and trout on several forms of lures and flies. If, at first light, and you want some really great excitement, try throwing a top-water lure. Of course I like to use the DOA Shallow Running Baitbuster along with the Airhead, un-weighted of course, for this scenario. For those of you wanting to cast to a tailing redfish and try your targeted casts, use DOA Shrimp or CAL rigged on a weed-less hook with a very small weight. The same with the fly fisherman, you cannot go wrong while flats fishing Florida’s waters for redfish and spotted seatrout using a shrimp patterned fly. If you choose you can throw bait at them but you still need to get that in front of their mouth in order for them to eat it. Speaking of seatrout, I am seeing and catching some extremely high quality fish. Most are being caught at the exact same time we are sight fishing the redfish or throwing the top-waters. However I do ask you that when you get them close to the boat, do try to release them without bringing them on board. At this time of year with the heat, water temperature and the stress that they receive on the hook up their survival rate tends to decline. This will help them and in return will help you for the future when you go back out to catch them again. Makes sense to me. Also please remember that you really should never hold any fish by the lips with any kind of “gripping” device or vertically, Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Charters they really do not like that. Hold them horizontally. Try to also keep your hands wet and keep in mind the number one priority is the survival of that fish upon its release. I like to say hold them with respect as for what they have given you, a great fight and a fun day. If they are not there then the day would not exist. I have also been getting reports from fellow colleagues and friends who are seeing and catching good numbers of tarpon along the beaches and inlets. Also a few nice cobia and some nice sharks as well are being landed along our coastal beaches when weather permits the smaller flats boats to get out there in the Atlantic. Captain Drew Cavanaugh Mosquito Lagoon Sight Fishing Charters Saltwater Fishing Guide Near Orlando Florida Saltwater Fishing Near Orlando Videos
  2. May 6th, 2013 Orlando Saltwater Fishing Charter Report The past several weeks including, all of March, all of April and now the first few days here in May have proved to be outstanding on the fishing front here in east central Florida. The backcountry flats fishing and sight fishing here on the Mosquito Lagoon and north Indian River have just been outstanding. I see a great summer of inshore saltwater fishing on the way. This is the best place on earth to be fishing year round. Saltwater fishing that is within one hour of Orlando and all of central Florida. The inshore waters near the New Smyrna Beach, Cocoa Beach, Daytona, Titusville, Oak Hill, Mims and Edgewater Florida have all been great. There is no one particular spot which is better than another. Try different areas and you will spread your knowledge out over the life of your fishing outings. Early morning starts are bringing some great chances at tailing and feeding redfish along shallow grass flats and the deep backcountry waters. If you are the evening fishing type the hours before sunset can be just equally as good. As long as the afternoon storms and winds that we see here stay on your side. Getting into some really big seatrout mixed in scattered about the sand holes and near drop offs as well when we are going after the redfish. A few black drum are being seen roaming with or near the redfish too. The red drum we have been getting have been mostly sight fished with first off getting into position, very carefully and quietly. Taking your time when approaching these fish is the key to a successful day on the water. Once your targets have been found the next key for this to become a catching day is that the cast you make are precise and just right. You must also be accurate, the tail does not eat. A little distance must be there as well due to that you can only get so close to these fish before they sense and see you. Then they are gone. Redfish that are “tipping” up and moving are being caught with the D.O.A. Shallow Runner Baitbusters and the new D.O.A. Airheads. As far as the rig up on these and color selection varies on the waters you are fishing. I am a big fan of plastics that resemble the prey around here. So mullet patterns, black and white or the white body with the red head is a good choice too. Throwing to a single or few feeding redfish I use the D.O.A. Shrimp or a CAL. Again color selection boils down to natural food source colors. So the shrimp patterns I am using have a natural color. The CAL’s I can use any color because typically these baits are just on the move imitating bait pods roaming aimlessly. However I do still prefer the white or lighter colors on the bottom. If you think about it almost all of the bait out here that the redfish, seatrout and black drum are feeding on have some sort of white or light colors on them; Mullet, Crabs, Mud Minnows, Shrimp. Makes sense that these colors are a good basic choice for flats fishing here on the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River. The black drum are being very skittish, with due cause. The past years they are being pursued heavily so they are adapting to the pressure. Try using peeled shrimp on small circle hooks if targeting theses fish on the flats. Casting to them with soft presentations as not to scare them all off. Remember, spook, they all will run. This applies to all of the fish you go after. I have had some good reports of anglers anchoring down inside of the canals and dropping cut large blue crabs down with heavy weights for these fish too. However that is more like bottom fishing and not sight fishing. To each their own and however you like to fish, I guess. The seatrout we have been getting here the past weeks have been extremely nice quality trout. The bigger trout are being caught while casting across the sand holes out in the grass flats and in the very backcountry waters. Again using the Baitbusters and the Airheads are your go to top waters. Any hook configuration out here that uses multiple hooks, or treble hooks, means trouble for these fish when you go to release them. You can always remove them and replace them with the appropriate circle hook. Smaller seatrout can be caught in the deeper ledges and drop offs throughout the entire lagoon systems. On a side note please remember that you need to give other anglers plenty of space and room. When fishing the flats you take away an element of depth, so you now go out and away. You see a boat in one spot don’t assume they are just staying right there. Their path may change many times. Also remember that inside the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge there are certain rules that you need to know. Be sure to look at any regulations where ever you are fishing. It is your responsibility to know these before you go out. Everyone be safe and have fun. Captain Drew Cavanaugh
  3. March 19th, 2013 Orlando Saltwater Fishing Guide Report We are not that much further from summer now! I do not know about the rest of you but I cannot wait, warm summer breezes, afternoon storms, longer days. The feel of that summer sun on your skin is what Florida is all about. The warm months send chills throughout the backcountry flats and will bring on some of the best fishing here in east central Florida yet to arrive. It will not be long until tarpon begin to show up along the coastal beaches. However with this being said it does not mean that the past few weeks have been bad. In all aspects of things, it has actually been very great! Despite having extremely strong winds the past weeks, northwest and north winds mostly, the fishing has been on fire. High north type winds like this will push the water out of the Mosquito Lagoon and the northern portions of the Indian River. What does this mean you should ask? Well low water levels. Obviously, however that also means areas were the fish were or could get too are no longer accessible. In a sense of things certain dining areas are closed for them. However the past few days here we are getting winds from a southerly flow, which will bring water levels up to certain degrees. The new feeding grounds have been reopened for business. Unfortunately this also seems to tell some boaters to run anywhere they feel like. Taking these factors into consideration, the charters I have been on have been getting great numbers of schooling redfish, black drum and finding some very nice spotted seatrout throughout the backcountry grass flats. It does not matter if you are fishing the Oak Hill/Edgewater area or the New Smyrna Beach area. This is including the western shores and grass flats, of Titusville and Mims areas as well. The fish have been everywhere within the lagoon systems. The redfish are ranging in size from a few pounds to 15 pounds or so. A few up and down from that mark as well. Using DOA CALs mostly, along with DOA Shallow Running Baitbusters, as always rigged (just the CALS’s) with a weed-less hook configuration. Sight fishing them is of course the only preferable way to go. Once the fish are located your angle on getting them depends on your ability to remain stealthy, taking your time, distance if need be and of course that targeted shot. If you cast to fish, I do not care if you have a $5 live jumbo shrimp on there, if you are 50 feet from them, well like I say, the tail does not eat. So practice your casts, just as if your practice your golf shots. Mixed in with the redfish on the flats will be the black drum and the seatrout. The black drum can be very skittish most of the time and require a special tactic of finesse and that sweet approach to them. Try using a DOA shrimp or even a live shrimp on a small 2/0 or so circle hook. For those of you wanting to cast the fly, use a small black crab pattern. Smaller shrimp patterns will work just as well, just mind the back cast and the line management. The sea trout will appear and disappear as you are looking for both reds and drum. They are as I like to say the Delta Force of the flats. The main ingredient with getting one is to just take as much time as needed. Do not rush it. Watch the edges of pot holes/sand holes not far from drop offs or in secluded areas. Last but not least, presentation and the cast that threads the needle. Make sure you handle them very carefully as for their release and survival rate. Please be sure to handle all of the fish you catch with the utmost care and caution. Pictures should be taken horizontally at all times after wetting your hands. You want to be sure that upon their release the survival rate of them is the most important thing. If not there will be none left for the future. Practice catch and release and the future of the fisheries will be safer than not doing this. This I promise you. Captain Drew Cavanaugh Florida Inshore Fishing Charters Cell/352-223-7897 Saltwater Flats Fishing Near Orlando Florida YouTube Videos
  4. November 21st, 2012 Mosquito Lagoon Light Tackle Fishing Report Well it has been a trying year in many aspects however the great fall to winter time inshore flats fishing has arrived here in east central Florida on the Mosquito Lagoon and the Indian River. The backcountry waters of the north Indian River Lagoon system, the Mosquito Lagoon and all of the waters connecting these here in the Titusville, Cocoa Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Oak Hill and Edgewater areas have cleared up substantially. It looks as if the algae bloom that had occurred has dissipated tremendously here. I would say that things are back to normal or close to it, at least on the water. Light tackle sight fishing is at a prime right now and is improving on a daily basis. As the winter months are approaching the lagoons will begin to light up and fishing the shallow flats will be hot. This pattern will continue well into the spring time and at times is regarded as the epic months of saltwater sight fishing. There is no better place to be here if this is on you plate. Inshore light tackle saltwater fly fishing will be a main choice for numerous anglers due to the extremely clear gin like waters mixed in with the drop dead weather and blue skies that prevail here during these months. The past several weeks the fishing for redfish and spotted seatrout has just been great. At times it seemed that it could not get any better however the next day you go out it did just that. It was better than the day before. As long as you are able to get days of fairly clear skies and light winds you are by no doubt able to find fish. Just takes a little time, patience and effort, but these fish are healthy, hungry and happy to be a part of your day. Redfish have been feeding aggressively at first light and all throughout the day well up onto the shallow grass flats. It seems they are feeding on a mixture of not only finger mullet, but it appears small crabs and some shrimp as well. Some of the choice lures and tackle selection can be the D.O.A. Shrimp, the D.O.A. Shallow Running Baitbuster or the D.O.A. CALS, one of my all-time favorites to use due to the simplicity of it. I usually rig mine with a weed less weighted hook to keep them from grabbing grass and allowing them to get an extra distance on them in the skinny water. The Baitbusters however just remember the key is to not to stop them on the retrieve, predators will say they have never seen a bait stop for them and turn away. Try this on any of the top waters you use. When sight fishing the flats there are a few key elements that are required for a successful day on the water, they are very simple and easily attainable if you just put your mind to it. First off is the early bird gets the worm. Do not expect to show up to the party late and get action. Do not ruin it for those that are already out there and in place before you, they make the effort and are rewarded in different ways. Should you get to an area that you were wanting to fish and another boat is there, just move to another spot, easy to do? Give you fellow anglers more than enough distance. They will do the same. I like to say discipline is a major part and etiquette. The next thing is stealth and patience. I can't express this enough. You just cannot barrel up onto these redfish or trout with a trolling motor or your engine and expect them to cooperate. Think hunting tactics because in reality this is just what this is, hunting on the water. The last thing is distance and an utmost precise casting technique. You must be able to make casts at distances, not landing on top of fish, along with it being a good targeted shot. The tail does not eat. You will not be able all of the time, to throw to tailing redfish ten feet from the boat. Once in while yes, but not on every cast, it just does not work like that. Use your push pole as much as physically possible. Keep the sun at your back and in their eyes. It is a major part of having any kind of success on the water. The other thing to have is a very good pair of polarized sunglasses, copper or amber. Invest in a good pair and they will become your friend. No Gray lens and no mirrored. With this said your best option is to practice casting. Be able to throw at least ten feet past them with a soft yet effective presentation. It is always best to cast a million feet past a fish then to be short a few feet. You can always bring line in, you cannot let line out. Basic laws of the way our tackle works and physics. You scare one red you will scare them all. Watch for signs of life, scan areas and then figure out your approach tactic. I like to say it requires the Goldilocks effect, just right. The spotted seatrout bite is off the wall. I have been able to sight fish some very nice trout the past several weeks. Most are very secluded and we are finding them as we are looking for redfish. The best key to get one on your line is to be extremely patient and really focus on grass flats with nice sand holes. Scan areas watching for shapes and shadows to move. Be aware of your movement and the noise you make because these fish will not wait around for you. They are by far the apex predator among the saltwater flats. Please be sure that you handle all of the seatrout you get with the most extreme care for the best chance at survival when you release them. For this matter all of the fish you get do this. I want everyone to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Captain Drew Cavanaugh Florida Inshore Fishing Charters Cell/352-223-7897 Saltwater Flats Fishing Near Orlando Florida
  5. Mosquito Lagoon - Cocoa Beach Fishing Report Well with some recent weather changes that have rolled threw the central Florida area this has brought in some better fishing opportunities. As winds begin to shift and smaller less significant cold fronts begun to approach this time of year it causes a few changes among the waters and the fishes feeding patterns. One big thing is the mullet run that will occur soon. On top of this the waters have showed a very good sign of beginning to clear as well. Redfish have been well established among the flats of both the Mosquito Lagoon and the Indian River. Choice tactics for pursuing these fish range from stalking them early along grass flats and watching them to tail. Throwing soft plastics such as the DOA CAL or Paddle Tails. The with this is s a precise cast and a well defined presentation. Other choices are to find fish that are moving in the school patterns and then throwing top waters at them. The choice here would be the DOA Shallow Runner Baitbuster. Fly fishing for them is the same on the thicker grass flats. A well placed mullet pattern or crab pattern is a best bet. Just be sure you have your presentation down. Trout have been plentiful if you are able to get to some clean water along with finding a decent bait presence. As always you will be finding the bigger trout among the flats in pot holes and small drop offs. Numerous smaller trout can be found in the deeper waters and drop offs. Throw either top waters early and often or soft plastics as well. Along with the above there is always a few black drum being caught and some jacks and lady fish. Since Issac came thru the tarpon have dissipated a little but are still here and there. As always please be sure to handle all fish carefully and horizontally to ensure when you release them they have a higher chance of survival. Captain Drew Cavanaugh Florida Inshore Fishing Charters http://www.floridainshorefishingcharters.com/
  6. Titusville, Cocoa & Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report – August 13th, 2012 As most have seen here in central Florida there was an algae bloom that occurred a few weeks ago here on the waters of the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River. However not all is lost or gone. There still are several areas that are not only producing fish but also numerous areas that have quite a bit of clean water. The Mosquito Lagoon, Refuge and Indian River is holding a good and respective amount of redfish still. It is just a matter of looking very hard for them. The key is to look along drop offs with the grass mats that border the flats, watch for activity and then use a good method of watching for tailing fish. The redfish have been up inside the heavy, thick grass feeding. I mean some of these fish are several inches underneath a thick pad of grass. It is almost surreal to watch them do this. Now the main ingredient here is a very good cast. I mean perfect when throwing into grass like this. With the reds feeding in this grass the visibility for them is pretty much none. Your shot at them as got to be perfect, if it is not they just will not see it. Using a D.O.A. CAL with an added bullet weight along with a weed-less hook configuration will be your best bet. Also for those of you wanting to use live or cut bait you can move around and let a piece of bait soak for a while if need be. The trout bite has still been fairly good given the water clarity. Whether you are fishing up in the New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater area near Oak Hill or down in the Indian River near Cocoa, Port St. John and Titusville. Several trout are being caught fishing the deep ledges and looking for clean water with some movement or flow to it. If you can locate the smaller bait fish and birds feeding even better. Using top waters or soft plastics are your best bet. If you are in the deep waters and see birds diving and feeding there is also a very good chance you can get a good amount of bites of jacks and lady fish which are always fun too catch as well. The tarpon bite is great inshore and near shore. Tarpon ranging from the 5 to 10 pound class in the canals are being caught using medium light tackle. Tarpon up to the 80 plus pound class throughout the river are also being caught and numerous are rolling and feeding. There is nothing like seeing these fish feed and strike your lure. Throwing the D.O.A. Baitbuster or the medium D.O.A. Terror Eyz with a heavy leader (60 pound to 100 pound for the bigger tarpon, smaller for the fish in the back creeks and canals) is the go to this time of year. I am seeing a much larger catch ratio with these versus using live or dead bait. Watch for the fish to roll or swim by and then make your cast to them. Please remember to handle every fish you catch with the utmost caution and extreme care. This will ensure a higher survival rate upon their release. Captain Drew Cavanaugh Florida Inshore Fishing Charters Cell/352-223-7897 Email us at: drcfishmaster@cfl.rr.com Visit us at: Fish the Indian River Lagoon
  7. New Smyrna Beach & Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report – June 26th, 2012 As we continue into the summer months here in east central Florida the inshore flats fishing has begun to improve and get even better day after day. The Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River in the New Smyrna Beach, Oak Hill, Edgewater, Titusville and Mims areas all have been the epic center of attention for saltwater flats and sight fishing. Redfish, spotted sea trout, black drum along with a mix bag of lady fish, jacks and flounder have all been on the game plan for the day. A few juvenile tarpon have also been in the back water creeks as well. As we progress into the summer further we should start to see more and more tarpon showing up. Personally this is some of my favorite time of year to fish. Active, fun, energetic and most importantly it is not COLD out! What else can I say? You have got to love Florida in the summer time. The water levels here on the Mosquito Lagoon have been a little bit higher than they should be for this time of year. Which in return has really spread the fish out, and into the backcountry flats they had no access to a few weeks or months ago. Especially the redfish, along with some really beautiful gator sea trout we have been getting into. Think of this like having a pasture with cattle in it. You open a gate that leads to another set of pasture land the cattle had not been in for a while. They will tend to make a beeline for it. As this is a new grazing area for them with a fresh food source. Searching these areas will pay off tremendously, however you have to use caution, stealth and the key to fishing; Patience. These typical shallower flats do not get many boats there so approach and enter them with the care of the environment in mind along with your tactics to search them. Along with this, do think of your safety and others as well. Also please be aware of the poll and troll zones inside the refuge and its unique set of rules. Seems that when the water comes up that it calls for some anglers just to feel that they are able to run anywhere they feel like it. There is nothing worse than working very hard in getting to a spot back in the zone just to have somebody barrel around in there trying to bump fish. A little effort on the push pole or trolling motor goes a very long way. Also keeping a very wide distance between you and any other anglers helps as well. The redfish have been feeding aggressively at dawn and at first light. Finding schools and singles are easy if you are able to locate bait pods, birds and mullet. Clean and clear water too. The go to lure at this time of year I like to use is the D.O.A. Shallow Runner Baitbuster. As you are approaching tailing and feeding redfish once you are in optimal casting range to make a clear, soft presentation of a cast be sure to throw past the fish with a slow steady retrieve within their feeding zone. This will produce strikes most of the time. As the day moves on sight fishing is easily accomplished by switching to the D.O.A. CALS and or Shrimp. As always, I do like to put mine on a weed less hook configuration with a very small bullet weight for that little bit of added distance, which will help you in gaining that added edge. You can also use live mullet or cut mullet along with fresh cut lady fish if you have it. Pinfish work just as well. As far as the sea trout bite, well it has been great! We seem to be getting quite a few really nice sea trout mixed in with the feeding reds. The trout in my mind are the apex predators of the inshore flats here. In a sense they are the lions and tigers stalking the flats, very intelligent. Whereas the redfish move with a resemblance of herds of cattle, grazing, feeding at a steady pace, seeming to have no rhyme nor reason. The trout are hammering the Baitbusters with no remorse what so ever. As the sun gets higher look for gators sitting on white holes and grass flats nearing the drop-offs. Using Jigs and the CALS along with a great pair of polarized sunglasses you should be able to get into some really nice fish. The key in finding big trout is take your time and be very stealth like. Of course if you have fished here for a while you know you will also hook into the obvious by-catch of lady fish, jacks, blue fish and what. A few black drum are being caught here and there as well. Using a D.O.A. Crab or a live shrimp on a small circle hook is your best bet. They seem to be roaming the flats in the same areas the redfish are being seen. However they are very spooky. Please be sure to handle all of the fish you catch this time of year with extreme caution. Keeping them horizontal, wetting your hands and getting them back into the water as soon as you can increase their survival rate. Be sure that your fish revives and swims off in good health. Catch and release is the number one way to be sure we have a future of game fish here on the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River. It is a very unique fishery so let’s protect it. Everyone have a safe and happy fourth. Captain Drew Cavanaugh Florida Inshore Fishing Charters Cell/352-223-7897 Email us at: drcfishmaster@cfl.rr.com Visit us at: http//:www.floridainshorefishingcharters.com/
  8. January 30th, 2012 New Smyrna Beach Saltwater Flats Fishing Report Well now that we are into the New Year of 2012 here in east central Florida and great weather is amongst us the flats fishing of the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River has taken of tremendously here in the New Smyrna Beach, Titusville and Oak Hill areas of central Florida. Sight fishing the backcountry flats of the national park and refuge has begun to improve quite a bit, with water clarity getting into the optimal range it should be for this time of year and just outstanding days to fish in. Clear as spring water in most places and easy to spot fish with bright blue skies above you makes the fishing here on the Mosquito Lagoon and north Indian River a premier destination for world class sight fishing. Air and water temperatures are at a prime as well for making east central Florida fishing comfortable, exciting and fun. This is inshore saltwater flats fishing at its very best, what dreams are made of. There is no better place to fish here in the states on a year round basis than here in Florida. Just so many options are here and opportunities for fish of all types of species to target. As the past several weeks have gone by the water visibility more than anything has cleared up some from the algae bloom that occurred over the summer and fall of 2011. It has taken a few months of cooler weather along with a couple of extremely cold nights and chilly days but we are getting to the famous clarity this area is known for making it a sight fishing paradise. The flats and sight fishing is great as the sun breaks the horizon in the morning and continues its ascent as the day goes by. Even at mid-day the fishing is still great and can be at its prime for the day. Water temperatures in the morning time are in the mid 60° mark and rising up to the high 70° mark at the height of the day. This is ideal for redfish and drum. Redfish, trout and several black drum are being caught in fairly decent numbers on several different baits and lures as well as using light tackle sight fishing methods or fly fishing tactics. The fish are ranging from 2 to 15 pounds on average, with a few bigger and smaller ones mixed in. Searching the flats with baitfish, birds and activity of life on them is one of several different keys into getting on some nice game fish. As the nights are cooler to cold this time of year a grass flat that is near ledges, holes and drop offs are a good place to start looking for fish at dawn. The fish at night time will tend to drop into the deeper waters for warmth, food and protection. As will the baitfish that they feed upon. As the sun begins to rise, the areas that the rays touch first will warm up the quickest and most likely will hold baitfish along with the predators that follow. This also applies to the shallow water, as for it will warm up quicker than deep water. Sand holes among the grass will tend to be great ambush points for all types of predators and game fish, as well as the ledges leading back to the drop off areas. In a sense they become a type of underwater field that is scanned by predators alike. Of course as with any day you fish shallow waters here on the flats the key elements to success are stealth, patience and distance. Take your time and do not rush things. Approach fish at a distance to not only give you ample time to get into position but also to give you a few chances to make that perfect cast. Use your push pole as much as you can and use your trolling motor as a tool to make up distances. Think like a hunter; be sure to give every angler a very wide gap between you and them. Space between and low noise is a key too. What is a wide gap? I say 900 plus feet if not more, give or take a few feet. You may see two or even three boats on top of each other and think to get in there with them. However consider that they may know each other and be working together. If you get to an area that already has a boat there it is simple, move to another location. There is plenty of water to fish and plenty of fish to be caught. Early starts are a very good key to a successful day of fishing the Mosquito Lagoon. The type of baits or lures being used have been anywhere from a live shrimp placed on a small 3/0 circle hook with a small bullet weight for the black drum or redfish to the D.O.A. shrimp, D.O.A. CALS and D.O.A. Crabs. I like to throw a few of these with a weed less configuration. Throwing towards and past a feeding fish (say 8 to 12 feet past) then bring that lure/bait across their feeding path will entice a hit or two. Just be eloquent or graceful about this as not to spook them. As far as the fly fishing end of things we were able to land many redfish and black drum on imitation mullet patterns, crab patterns along with a shrimp pattern or two. Approach fish with the sun at your back at an angle and watch boat and your feet movement. Shadows from casts or yourself can alert fish of your presence. Soft casts, good target acquisition and perfect presentations need to be applied and used for all of the above. The best way to accomplish this is just to practice it. Trial and error as it is with any thing in life. Please remember to handle all of your fish with great care and a tender touch for a high survival rate upon their release. Looks like the bottom line for the next few weeks is if the weather holds out and continues to be above average with warmer days the flats fishing here should just continue to improve. The water clarity should hopefully continue to clear up as well, so this will just make sight fishing the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River even better as time goes by. This is what it is all about. Again Happy New Year and I hope to see you out on the water. Captain Drew Cavanaugh Florida Inshore Fishing Charters Cell/352-223-7897 Email us at: drcfishmaster@cfl.rr.com Visit us at: http:www.floridainshorefishingcharters.com/
  9. Well several weeks of weather changes have come and gone leaving us with optimal conditions for flats fishing. The temperatures have dropped and then come back up and are leveling off comfortably now. The water levels were high and now, after the massive rain storms we just had, are even higher. Not long before it drops for winter. The water clarity should start to improve with the fresh water added and a mixture of conditions happening stirring things to say. This has the fishing going up and then coming down, then going back up again. However now that we are back in a steady weather pattern I see the fishing improving tremendously and eventually we should be in a sight fishing paradise once again throughout all of the flats here in the east central Florida area. The weather will start to cool down as well. Making for a typical Florida fall/winter day on the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River, perfect! Next thing you know we are in the winter months of Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River fishing. Which means world class sight fishing on the crystal clear grass flats. This is why the lagoon is known as the redfish capital of the world. The past several weeks brought in numerous great days of fishing trips and produced some very nice catches along with it. Redfish have been the staple of most trips. Along with this a few sea trout, flounder, lady fish and black drum have been mixed into the days catch. A few tarpon have been spotted here and there but they have been hit or miss ever since the bad freezes we had the past two years. A few of my clients, Rob, Darryl, Mitchell, June, Tom and Aaron just to mention a few, had outstanding days on the water. The top baits and lures used have been the D.O.A. Shallow Runner Bait Buster, live finger mullet, mud minnows, D.O.A. Cals, D.O.A. BFL 5.5, black crab flies, mullet flies all on 8 weight fly rods and small live blue crabs. The blue crabs I have been using were all hand caught and are in the size range of a silver dollar and used in combination with a 3/0 circle hook. These are gold to redfish. All fished light tackle on Stradic & Sustain 2500's/4000's mounted on St. Croix Legend Elite rods. Line and leader go from 10 pound braid to 15 with roughly 20 inches of 15-20 pound fluorocarbon leader. The waters we have been fishing have basically been the entire Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge areas. There were days we stayed in the New Smyrna, Edgewater and Oak Hill area and then days we fished the south end near Titusville in the lagoon and the river. On a few occasions we fished the west bank of Mims, the areas near the railroad bridge in Titusville, the north end of the Indian River there in Scottsmoor and the north bombing range in search of the big bulls that have been all over the area. The big bull reds have been in a spawning mode and are throughout the deeper waters here. When you find them try the D.O.A. Shallow Runner Bait Buster. Throw it in front and past the lead fish. A steady retrieve bringing it across them will entice a bite or ten. Do not slow it down or let it sink. It is not normal for a bait fish to stop for a predator. Hang on and have fun. Please be sure to handle these and all fish very carefully as to get them released safely and quickly for a higher survival rate. Also do not hold these fish vertically. Hold them horizontally if you have too. It is better for them this way. Practice catch and release, the future of this fishery depend on all anglers. Not just one. The tactics and techniques are basically unchanged. Search the flats early and look for signs of bait and bird activity. Tailers should be found early and throughout the morning time in grass flats where mullet are present. Approach fish easy. Do not rush it. I have stressed this before and will stress it again. Take your time and be stealthy about it. Use your push pole as much as you can. Be sure not to cast on top of your fish as they will spook. Watch the noise levels in the boat too. Also please, give your fellow angler plenty of room. Do not crowd up on top or run your boat too close to others as it will scare fish away. There is plenty of water to fish out there. Captain Drew Cavanaugh Florida Inshore Fishing Charters PO BOX 881 Edgewater, FL 32132 Cell/352-223-7897 Email us at: Orlando Florida Fishing Guide Light tackle fishing guide on the Mosquito Lagoon. Specializing in fly fishing or spin fishing for redfish, trout, snook and tarpon. Visit us at:Saltwater Fishing Charters In Central Florida Fish the world famous Mosquito Lagoon. The redfish capital of the world! Located along Florida's beautiful Space Coast near New Smyrna Beach.
  10. August 29th, 2011 New Smyrna Beach – Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Reports Well summer time has been here among us for some time now and the fishing has been great! This time of year can be outstanding if you work it to your advantage. With the higher water levels it does tend to make it a bit more challenging to locate your targets. Grass pads, dirty water and huge mullet everywhere add to the challenge. Now we all know the fish will still eat, they have too. So just change your tactics and approaches up for this time of year and your success rate will be steady. On a side note however please do use extra caution while you are navigating the Mosquito Lagoon waters. There are hidden sand bars and ledges that can be just inches under the waters service. We have had several days of getting numerous redfish with the D.O.A. Shallow Runner Bait Buster, mullet pattern flies, live mullet and a live mud minnow here and there depending on your preference and wants. Several different colors work, with the Bait Buster, as long as when it is cast you do not stop it on the retrieve and do not let it sink. Well also there is one more critical thing that applies to every single fish you are casting to. DO NOT land on top of the fish. They will spook. With redfish and trout aggressively feeding early and throughout the morning chasing mullet and bait fish this choice will work for hours. Watch for mullet to be crashed and or redfish moving and cast in front and past them. The D.O.A. Cals and Shrimps will work just as well for sight fishing methods. The keys are patience, distance and stealth. Early starts are still in the mix for a recipe of success. Looking for clean water and light at your advantage will just improve things. You should be able to catch tailing redfish at first light and then move onto bars and drop offs as the day goes on. A few redfish and trout have been caught using fly as well the past weeks. Mullet patterns seem to be the best with a #2 hook on an 8 or 9 weight fly rod. Trout are mostly in the deeper waters and along sandbars and cooler spots of the lagoon. A few black drum and a few tarpon have been seen throughout the entire Mosquito Lagoon. Every now and then you may stumble across a stray lady fish or jack. Please remember to respect your fellow angler and give them as always a wide berth of space. Also please, handle all of your fish with extreme care during these hotter days of summer for a safer and faster release of them to be able to fight again another day. Sport fishing is the way to go. I look forward to seeing all of you on the water. Tight lines! Captain Drew Cavanaugh Florida Inshore Fishing Charters Cell/352-223-7897 Email: drcfishmaster@cfl.rr.com Visit us- http://www.floridainshorefishingcharters.com/ Fish the world famous Mosquito Lagoon. The redfish capital of the world! Oak Hill/New Smyrna Beach/Cocoa Beach – Florida
  11. June 1st, 2011 Mosquito Lagoon/Orlando Florida Saltwater Fishing Report With very warm weather among us and summer time knocking at our door the fishing here on the Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River and along the beaches will pick up and go into full throttle. As the days continue to get hotter and hotter we will begin to see earlier start times and absolutely great days of fishing. As always, bring it on! There is no better place on earth to be fishing than here in central Florida right now and for the next several months. Several weeks here now redfish and trout have been all over the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River. The bigger trout have been along grass flats and sand holes as the smaller trout are out along the ledges in areas of 2 to 4 feet of water. Look for bait pods of mullet and you will find the trout. Free lining a mullet or using a DOA Shrimp will bring on great results. Top-water plugs will always bring out fun times too. Please be sure to handle the trout as with all fish with extreme care. Most of the trout on the flats are in the 3 to 5 pound range lately. Redfish are moving like soldiers on the shallow grass flats early and can be caught using a small live blue crab, live mullet or DOA CALS, DOA Shrimps and the cut baits as well. Sight fishing these beasts are allows the best way to go after them. Approach tailing redfish with caution and basically just take your time as not to scare them is the tactic to use. Properly placed casts and a soft presentation will definitely bring a fish or two in the boat. As the day goes on look for reds to move into slightly deeper waters and follow the bait pods there too. Along with the redfish several black drum are out there too. They will hammer the crabs and a well-placed live shrimp too. A few small tarpon have been seen rolling in the river waters near New Smyrna Beach and throughout the Mosquito Lagoon. As the water temperatures begin to rise the fishing for them will improve. Captain Drew Cavanaugh Florida Inshore Fishing Charters Cell/352-223-7897 Email: drcfishmaster@cfl.rr.com Visit us- http://www.floridainshorefishingcharters.com/ Fish the world famous Mosquito Lagoon. The redfish capital of the world! Oak Hill/New Smyrna Beach - Florida
  12. August 23rd, 2010 Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Reports With one of the hottest summers on record here in Florida and water levels down a few weeks ago, now back on the rise, salinity levels returning to acceptable conditions, and last but not least, it is not cold out, the fishing here on the Mosquito Lagoon has been steady to great. The weather for sight fishing in Florida is by far perfect! Extremely hot days call for early starts to beat the heat along with getting into optimal position before the feeding frenzies begin. Water temperatures are getting into the 90's at times and the air temp is feeling like the 100's. However an early start does not mean that the fish are just biting in the morning. This is what it is all about. Saltwater fishing in Florida. There is nothing at all better on the planet. As the morning sun rises feeding redfish can be seen and are being caught in very good numbers among the backcountry grass flats of the Mosquito Lagoon and in the Indian River from the New Smyrna Beach waters down through the MINWR flats. Redfish in the average size range of 5 to 12 pounds are the normal for tails among the pristine shallow waters with a fish here and there over 15 and even 20 pounds. The reds are moving into areas now that a few weeks ago were not accessible due to the lower water conditions we were experiencing here in east central Florida. Now that the water is rising this is opening up new feeding grounds for them and other predators including the nicer trout and black drum. Think of this as a pasture with your cattle in it. You have been keeping your herd in a 50 acre area and now you allow them into the rest of the property. They go crazy! Big bull red drum are moving throughout the lagoon and are mostly active at day break and late afternoon towards dusk. They can be seen moving among deeper grass flats and along the bars and drop offs where baitfish are present and thick. Black drum have been present and mixed in as well as being found in separate schools in areas where the red fish are moving about as well and are feeding on crabs, clams and worms. Gator trout are scattered about the grass flats and are very elusive unless you are able to approach them with great stealth. Throwing a top water plug is always a great start to a Floridian summer on saltwater back country waters. The activity of bait fish crashing all around you calls for this. You can just feel it in your veins. The best choices for baits for redfish recently have been D.O.A CALS in several colors and the D.O.A shallow running Bait Buster. Other great go to baits this time of year always include a well placed finger mullet or mud minnow. However if you are able to catch them yourself a nice live blue crab about the size of a silver dollar on a circle hook and then placed in front of a redfish or black drum with a perfect presentation will always work very well. With a live crab it always boils down to the soft presentation without scaring the fish off. They do tend to make some noise on splash down. However the fish just can not resist it. As always when fishing the flats use your push pole as much as you can, give your fellow anglers around you more than enough space and please do handle every fish with care for a perfect release and even better survival rate. Also take your time too! Do not rush yourself to get into position too fast. This is one of the biggest faults to over come when targeting fish that are feeding in very shallow water. The key is just not to rush it. Captain Drew Cavanaugh Florida Inshore Fishing Charters Cell/352-223-7897 Light tackle fishing guide on the Mosquito Lagoon. Specializing in fly fishing or spin fishing for redfish, trout, snook and tarpon. Visit us at: http://www.floridainshorefishingcharters.com/ Fish the world famous Mosquito Lagoon. The redfish capital of the world!
  13. Well summer is most definitely here. Where was this 7 months ago. Right! This weather by far is much more acceptable than the cold snap here of 2010 that occurred. I welcome this weather year round. I am sure most of us would agree with this too. With that said the fishing the past several weeks has been outstanding. Epic days for sure. With the days being extremely hot out your best bet by far is to start early to beat the heat and finish before it is too hot out to enjoy the day. Start way before sunrise as the bite will drop off as mid day approaches and then will pick back up towards the end of day light hours. Redfish have been the major staple of the Mosquito Lagoon and the Indian River here near the New Smyrna Beach area to the Titusville flats. The redfish bite has been great at first light among the flats all throughout the backcountry waters in shallow waters with baitfish present. Clean water will help too. Sight fishing is at a premium for slot sized red fish and the bigger bull redfish. As always please just give your fellow anglers a very wide gap between you and them if you arrive to an area later than the boats already present. Good distance - 600 feet at least. It is just a common basic courtesy to apply any where you fish in the world. The early bird gets the worm. Many anglers work hard with stealth like tactics to get into position early to be in the right place at the right time. Redfish are hitting a wide variety of bait but the go to bait this time of year is a live finger mullet, mud minnow and soft plastics. Placing a mullet or mud minnow on a 3/0 circle hook and then a targeted precise cast to taillers will work most of the time. Just do not land on the fish you are throwing to and get it in front of them as the tail does not eat. They will spook and they will ALL run. However I have been getting some of the bigger redfish on some hand picked small blue crabs put on a circle hook then with a well placed soft presentation will bring on major big action. DOA plastics with a small weight on them will also produce great action while sight fishing. Please as always with every fish you are handling and landing make the first priority their quick release for a higher survival rate. Trout are being caught in good numbers while working the deeper ledges of the grass flats and the sand bars where mullet and bait fish are moving around. Stay in three to five feet of water. Pig fish will work but are hard to come by this year. As long as you can find clean waters top water baits will produce as well and always as well fly fishing is great on the lagoon. Moving throughout the lagoon and river look for bait pods being hammered by birds and most likely you will find jacks, ladyfish and blues mixed in. Captain Drew Cavanaugh Florida Inshore Fishing Charters Cell/352-223-7897 Email us at: drcfishmaster@cfl.rr.com Light tackle fishing guide on the Mosquito Lagoon. Specializing in fly fishing or spin fishing for redfish, trout, snook and tarpon. Visit us at: http://www.floridainshorefishingcharters.com/ Fish the world famous Mosquito Lagoon. The redfish capital of the world!
  14. June 20th, 2010 The past weeks of fishing here in the east central Florida area has been extremely great. On fire to be exact. Earlier sunrises and later sunsets mean more fishing time along with nice weather to deal with - no more cold! The warm weather arriving has also brought on tarpon, jacks, blues, lady fish and all of the other seasonal species which move into the lagoon and river here when summer time arrives. Along with these fish have of course been the outstanding year round bite of redfish, trout and black drum. Again summer time fishing here in Florida is by far the best place to be on the planet. Why go any where else. As the weather keeps getting into the summer dog days the fishing will continue to improve along with it as well. The lagoon is alive and active. Redfish have been seen and caught throughout the entire Mosquito Lagoon system and in the Indian River using a large variety of baits. Most of the fish I have been targeting have been up on the flats and in the backcountry waters of the Mosquito Lagoon and the New Smyrna Beach area. Tailing reds can been seen at first light eating a variety of baits among the grass flats. The fish are moving across and along sand bars chasing the bait schools that become active in the morning light. Mullet have made an invasion into the grass flats along with the blue crabs, pin fish and of course the summer specials of pig fish. It seems the past couple of trips mud minnows have been the choice of the day. A well placed mud minnow in front of feeding redfish is a bait that will not be turned away. The key with using them is the presentation and care of the bait. Mud minnows are a favorite of redfish(along with flounder) due to the baits characteristic qualities of heading, well, into the mud. It basically swims into the reds mouth or very close to it. If sight fishing with them try to keep them alive in the water as you are poling around in search of reds. Either keeping them in the live well on the hook or hanging them over the side of the boat or place a small bucket in your boat and refresh the water every so often for optimal care. The next thing you do not want to do is to land on top of the fish when making your cast. As I have said before this will scare them. If several redfish are feeding and you scare one them you will scare them all. No doubt. So cast past them, anticipate their direction and speed but close enough to them to slowly bring it to them for the attack. The redfish will hammer them. The DOA shrimps in the natural colors have been working great as well as the DOA CALS in mullet patterns used on weedless rigs with lighter weights on them. Fish them in the same way as the mud minnows for your presentation and approach. Trout have been caught in good numbers along sand bars and drop off early in the morning using jigs and top water. Search along the bars that drop off to deeper ledges and specially noting if there is a large presence of bait fish moving about in the area for better success. Larger trout will be roaming the flats in the grass beds in search of baits and will be vary wary of your presence so be very cautious when approaching them. They are the apex predator in the lagoon. Of course as always please handle them with extreme care for a positive release and a high survival rate of them. Black drum are mixed in on the flats roaming in schools and will appear with the redfish as well. The best baits of choice for them are small crabs or smaller shrimp placed on a 2/0 or 3/0 circle hook with a small weight to help it get down to the fish. Jacks, lady fish and blue fish can be caught in massive numbers all over the deeper waters(5-7 feet) using almost any kind of plug, jig or bait thrown at them. Watch for diving birds, dolphin, predator fish crashing baits and large bait pods moving about to locate them. Be sure to step up your leader to a higher strength due to the blues. Captain Drew Cavanaugh Florida Inshore Fishing Charters New Smyrna Beach, Florida Cell/352-223-7897 Fish the world famous Mosquito Lagoon. The redfish capital of the world! Located along Florida's beautiful Space Coast.
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