Fishing Reports

Orlando Area Red Fish

The End of September Orlando Area Fishing Report

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Orlando Area Fishing Report Bonito

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Photo: John Kumiski

On Monday Dr. Aubrey Thompson came down from Jacksonville wanting some little tunny. We had tried a couple weeks earlier and had not gotten any.Monday made up for it. I was kicking myself for not carrying my cameras. It started off slowly. I found some weeds and was looking for a tripletail when I heard the first school of tunny. We may not have gotten a fish from that burst, but more and more started breaking. It got better and better as the day went on. The weather was outstanding, which certainly helped. We had multiple double hookups.

We used craft fur Clouser Minnows, then craft fur minnows, then finally switched to white gurglers. The strikes were insane. Completely tunnied out, we looked along the beach for a little while. We found breaking fish and got a few jacks and ladyfish. Weather forced us off the water about 3 PM.

Aubrey had this to say about his experience:
How to land a little tunny/false abacore on a 6wt: a “beginner’s” observations.
I learned a lot from John Kumiski about how to fight a very strong fish on a light rod.The runs are no problem as long as you have a strong reel with lots of backing. I was using a Colton Terrapin 567, a tough ass reel, with a super smooth drag and 200+yd of Hatch Pure (68lb) backing. My drag was so tight that I had trouble pulling the line off the reel to make a cast. You better have good knots! But runs are made mostly against the reel, and rod weight doesn’t matter a lot. The real problem is lifting the fish when you get them back near the boat. They are very strong and they don’t want to come up.

John showed me something I had not previously appreciated. Most of us, when we are trying to lift a fish, reel down until the rod tip is near the surface of the water and then lift. That gives you a lifting arc of 3-4ft, and most of the power in the lift is dissipated in the front half of the rod. John starts his lift with half the rod below the surface, the rod tip pointing more or less at the fish. That doubles your lifting arc and you have most of the lift in the butt, rather than the tip, of your rod. You have to pay attention, because if the fish decides to run under the boat you have a lot of rod in the water and a very tight drag. John said the rod manufacturers love this technique, as you can imagine. For the record, John was using a TFO Professional 6wt. Would I do that with an $800 Sage? Hell yes. That’s what the warranty is for, isn’t it?

Second trick. If you can’t lift the fish, swish the rod tip side to side 2-3 feet very quickly. It’s amazing, but it breaks the fish loose every time and you can usually lift them 3-4ft before they regain their composure. Finally, John emphasizes one principle that we all know but often don’t always put into practice. At all times you should be either gaining line or loosing line. If you aren’t doing one or the other, you aren’t fighting the fish. Using these “tricks” it’s no big deal to land an albie on a 6wt.

Wednesday I did a little scouting in the Indian River Lagoon, launching at Kennedy Point. The water was high, ranging from putrid brown to almost crystal clear, depending on where you were. There were large clouds all around. There was no doubt it would be a short trip. Although I did not get a bite, I did see some baby tarpon, a few redfish, and a few black drum. An approaching storm chased me off the water by noon. Thursday Chris Myers and I did some scouting in Mosquito Lagoon. It was cloudy, with a northeast wind that started about 12 and kept increasing.

In spite of reports we’d heard to the contrary, we did not see a fish at the south end. Under the circumstances sight fishing was impossible, and blind casting yielded exactly nothing. We ran north. We tried blind casting up there and managed to get a few unimpressive trout and four reds between us, all on jigs. By now the wind was blowing at least 15, with gusts. I was headed back to the ramp when we came across some sizeable fish busting mullet. Chris hooked on a jig- jacks! I tied on a Chug Bug. The response was immediate- ka-BLAM! I hooked four, caught only one, and broke two off, pretty dismal on my end. I gave Chris a Chug Bug and he got another one. Thus ended our fishing.

On Friday Dan Pleasant and his brother-in-law Brent, two dads on parole from Disney World, joined me for a morning half day on Mosquito Lagoon. Our first stop had some redfish swimming around, mostly invisibly. We’d see a push, and pole over. It would be gone, and blind casting with jigs yielded nothing. Repeat. Repeat again. Finally, we got a good shot and Brent made a perfect cast. The fish ignored it. As it turned out we did not hook a red all morning. Of course we went to the spot that Myers and I had caught the reds the previous day. They got a couple slot trout, but not a red did they get. Then we hit a spot that was loaded with trout, mostly shorts. We caught a bunch with a few slot fish mixed in, still using jigs.
I noticed a sizeable disturbance in the water, and poled over to check it out. It was a big school of crevalle jacks swimming in a daisy chain. I told Dan to pick up the rod with the Chug Bug and throw it to them. One turn of the reel handle- ka- BLAM! He had never caught one before. He found the experience quite exciting, perhaps even thrilling. An approaching storm chased us off at about 1130.

And that is the End of September Orlando Area Fishing Report.
Life is great and I love my work!
Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski

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