As water levels and temperatures drop, look for shallow clear conditions on the Mosquito, Indian River, and Banana River Lagoon flats to create some of the best sight fishing experienced all year. On clear sunny days, successful anglers focus on quietly polling the flats in search of redfish and sea trout holed up on shallow sandbars soaking up the sun’s warmth.
On colder days, an early start is not necessary unless it’s a weekend with limited parking, so read the paper and have an extra cup of coffee before heading to the lagoon. Additionally, mullet and other finfish have migrated out of the area for the winter, so as the predators feeding habits switch to smaller shrimp and crabs, anglers should switch to a smaller bait, lighter leaders, and slower presentation. For larger sea trout, target areas where mangrove edges, docks, and other structure are adjacent to deep water dredge holes, sloughs, or canals. When targeting redfish, black drum, and sea trout during the colder months, I like to downsize my bait and fish with shrimp or crab imitation baits like the D.O.A. Shrimp and D.O.A. Crab. February is also a key month for targeting tailing black drum and finding them in deeper channels and around bridge structure.
Last but not lease, The American shad run is in full swing on the St Johns River, and catching shad on ultra-light spin and fly rod is as close as you can get to stream fishing without leaving Central Florida. Also, the Coastal Angler Magazine’s Shad and Crappie Derby on the St Johns River is in progress, so be sure to sign up at one of the registration locations.