Like so many marine coastal anglers in the southeastern U.S. and Gulf States, I have a fierce addiction to fishing for redfish: small ones, big ones, on topwater plugs or on soft plastics. I simply love 'em. Since I'm a natural-born flats fisherman, I prefer to sightfish for them and make a lure presentation to a specific fish or pod of them. But there's one Big Force out there that's indifferent to my spottail desires or any angling ardor for that matter. And that's the weather.
I made plans to fish with Captain Justin Price of Right In Sight Charters to sightfish for big redfish in February. The Mosquito Lagoon with all of its bounty lay waiting for me as I made the trip to New Smyrna Beach from Miami. But Mother Nature had other plans than the tranquil sunny days Justin and I wanted for hunting and spotting tailing and cruising redfish. A big and vicious cold front plopped itself on the Space Coast region for the two days we were to fish. The skies were totally gray, the winds pushed out of the north at almost 20 mph, and the air was cold.
A double disappointment was that we were to fish in the new ultra-shallow draft skiff, the East Cape Glide. But the severe open water conditions would simply be better for me in Justin's larger East Cape Lostmen. Since we only had two days to fish, we both opted to fish the first day with radically altered tactics.
There would be no poling the shallows since the conditions no doubt would have driven the redfish into deeper water. We modified our plans to include fishing with live finger mullet and shrimp. Our angling efforts would be to "anchor up" and fish the drop-offs and edges of flats and bars.
The first three spots yielded no takes or strikes. On the fourth spot, we "struck red" with two excellent specimens. Our larger fish was around 15 pounds and the smaller one was around 7 pounds. Both of our redfish were well-deserved catch and releases on a day when most skiffs stayed on their trailers.
I asked Justin to run north into the sheltered creeks to try for flounder in the ever-deteriorating conditions. The next day had even worse conditions, so we "bagged it" -but remained satisfied with our cold water prizes of yesterday.