Mosquito Lagoon, Florida - May 2018 - Fishing with family & friend

Recently, my brother Jack, a great friend Jimmy and I took a little fishing trip to a place called the “Mosquito Lagoon”.  This lagoon runs along the east coast of central Florida, from Cape Canaveral to New Smyrna Beach.  The deepest water we found was in the Intercostal-Waterway (ICW).  Once outside the channel, we were in water that ranged from inches to about four feet; with most of the lagoon being what we know as “skinny” (or shallow) water.  The weather conditions for the two and a half days was a steady win from 10 to 15 mph with higher gusts, some scattered clouds, and temps running around the mid-70’s. 
Sunrise from the Indian Mound Fish Camp

With check-in time at the Indian Mound Fish Camp (IMFC) (or on Facebook) at 1500 hrs., we arrived about noon to check out the waters and get in a little fishing.

Boat ramp into the Indian River

The fishing pier with bait and tackle to the right
Before we talk exclusively about fishing, maneuvering the boat on the flats, and having fun, let’s talk about the IMFC. 

Located outside the small town of Oak Hill, the IMFC is primarily an RV park with two rental units for us non-RV folks.  On site, there’s a boat launch, secluded docks to secure your boat, fishing pier, and a fully stocked bait and tackle shop.  The only road to camp is secured from 1800-0600 hours with the rest being surrounded by the intercostal-waterway (ICW) to the east, and channels to the north and south.

The camp sustained significant damage from a major tidal surge during Hurricane Irma in 2017.  After having about 4 feet of water in the tackle shop and damage to the pier, the staff of Kelly, Neil, and Tess have done a great job cleaning, repairing, and rebuilding.  While they’re not completed with the addition of a tiki-bar on the pier, their open for business.

As many of you know, if I don’t like a place it wouldn’t be mentioned in my posting, but this is a place I recommend staying, with or without an RV. 

Now, let’s talk about our fishing adventure.
I’d love to start this posting by telling you, “we slayed ‘em”, but that wasn’t the case.  Oh, we did catch a few fish, just nothing worth keeping or bragging about.  Instead, this post is about three grown-ass-men, hell bent on finding a mosquito lagoon trophy fish.

Three grown-ass men having fun

We’d researched (maps, internet, and local fishermen) the lagoon for target areas and the closest one, also the only one north of camp was our first choice.  Being just off the ICW we didn’t have a problem with skinny water, and the current positioned the boat for adequate casting for all of us.  The place looked good, had moving water, bottom vegetation, and shoreline mangroves for structure.  Just no fish.

Next stop was off the ICW into a shallow water bay, used by locals and guides to get to the northeastern flats of the lagoon; we choose to stay in the bay a little.  Looking, fishing, and moving again we found the fish at the entrance to the bay.  With the tide running toward the ICW we anchored and fished the moving current.  Here we had plenty of fun catching, mangrove snappers and especially ladyfish.

 Calling it a day we headed back to camp to move into the room, cleanup and eat.  When we returned, we grabbed a few cocktails and told stories, made strategies for tomorrows adventure, and called it a night.

The first full day of searching for the keepers has begun.  Today the plan was to head south and fish more of the spots we’d identified on the map.  Some of the water we’d be in was going to be skinny (shallow) but we had no concerns.  Again, we found the steady wind of 10-15 mph with higher gusts proved to be our enemy.
Fishing smaller grass flats, windward and leeward points of moving water, and just off the ICW we caught our share of catfish, stingrays, a few mangrove snapper, and a few ladyfish.

Again, we returned to the IMFC without that trophy.

This being our final day at the mosquito lagoon, our hopes were up.  Talking to Neil of the IMFC, we showed him our map and he stated we had the right spots marked (confirmed our previous conversation with a local guide) and suggest we go to what’s known as ‘the wall’.  So, off we went.

As mentioned before we’d been in some skinny water, but getting to the wall, we were in water way shallower than we’d previously been.  Several times we had to raise the motor and use the push-poll to push us through some flats.
We made it to the wall, but as with the other boats in the area, nothing was being caught.  Changing depths, rigs, retrieval methods, and baits, we decided to move on.
It was here we employed southern ingenuity.  With the wind blowing us and the help of moving water we soon found ourselves in a predicament. We broke out the push-poll again and some found we were unable to push against the wind and waves.  It was time for Jimmy and I to get off the boat and push.  As we were pushing from the bow, Jimmy suggested we raise and use the Bimini top as a sail to help.  With that stoke of, what we considered genius, we some made it to floatable water.  I never thought I’d see the day my motor boat became a sailboat.
 After our adventure at the wall we worked our way north along the IWC.  Stopping at a few more spots along the way before returning to our most productive area.  Once again, we caught snapper, ladyfish, and catfish.
Even with this being our longest day on the water, we still did not catch anything worth taking home.  To be honest with you, it would have had to been a monster for any of us to take a fish home; we're all pretty much catch and release guys.
Well, that concluded our stay at the Indian Mound Fish Camp in the mosquito lagoon.  It was a good time to reunite with my ‘brother from a different mother’ (Jimmy) as well as introducing him to my brother by the same mother (Jack).  We did all share some cocktails, laughter, stories, and of course good times were had by all.

Here's a 7 minute video montage of some of our time on the water.

Until next time,

1 comment:

  1. Quite an interesting read! Sad that you didn't catch any fish though - it's always the case with me when I go on fishing trips, too!