Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Tips & Tactics

Note from Publisher: Coastal Angler Magazine welcomes Captain TJ Belmonte this month with a new inshore fishing report on and Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Tips and Tactics. For those of you not familiar with the “Lagoon,” it offers one the best inshore fisheries in Florida. The Ponce de Leon Inlet Light is the starting point to some unforgettable fishing. The Lagoon spans the northern part of the Indian River Lagoon System from New Smyrna Beach south to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (the MINWR was featured in May 2013). Mosquito Lagoon is full of oyster bars, mangroves and grass-flats. It is known for its redfish and spotted sea trout, but anglers can also target tarpon, tripletail, black drum, shark and other species. The shallow flats offer numerous sight fishing opportunities. Please welcome Capt. TJ Belmonte to the Coastal Angler Magazine family.

For those of you that know me know that I am not a writer, but I am a good fisherman. I sat for hours trying to figure out what to put into my first report to give you the best idea of what to expect out on the lagoon this time of year. It’s hard to sum up years of experience but I’ll start by saying instinct is everything.

Capt. TJ Belmonte with a lunker seatrout
Capt. TJ Belmonte with a lunker seatrout

In the month of May the spotted sea trout bite was on. The big “gator” trout were biting on free-lined live baits. Always follow the bait. Just like us, these monster trout don’t get big without eating and eating often. Let the mullet bring these trout in. The large ones were found on the shallower flats where large schools of bait were present. Whether you are working an oyster bed, grass flat, or sand spot be patient and make sure to cover an entire area before moving on. Pay attention to the water level, wind direction, and current. As the day gets warmer these factors will continue to change.

Redfish are still schooling but it seems in smaller numbers. Sight fishing has been most effective when targeting redfish. Tailing fish cannot resist live shrimp, cut mullet, or ladyfish tossed right under their noses. For those who prefer artificials, you should find success with jerk baits and spoons. Again be patient and go with your gut. It only takes one bite to bring home that trophy, and if your anything like me there is no better way to reduce stress than spending a day out on the lagoon.