As I reported a while back, fishing for me had taken a downward spiral, but happily since that column things have picked up. Not a bonanza, but a better return for the effort than the fat zero I had experienced.
My last two trips have produced very similar results with each voyage yielding two keeper trout and one keeper redfish. I know that does not represent anything to brag about, but is still a definite improvement.
On both of those days the fish came by way of the red and white MirrOlure. Of the six, only one hit the floating twitchbait on the surface. The other five slammed the plug on the underwater retrieve. It's always a fun thing to be reeling a lure in under water and to feel the hit take it in an entirely different direction. Anytime your bait shoots off at a right angle to your retrieve it is a heart stopper.
None of the sea trout were very large, but a 17-inch one provided an unusual experience. Up around the spoil islands east of Tomoka State Park a helicopter was swooping about low, seemingly looking at the islands. I supposed it was a state or county aircraft, but couldn't be sure. I hate to be buzzed by a chopper when fishing for it usually ends my chances.
Some years back my old pal the late Al Houser and I were fishing a cove near Bing's landing when a helicopter with environmental agency markings arrived. We had been stalking a quartet of big red drum for most of an hour and were just getting into casting range. The chopper came in very low and sat right over our heads for 15 or 20 seconds.
Enough to send the reds off to parts unknown. God, I was mad! I spent the next couple of days lodging complaints with anyone who would listen (to no avail).
This time up at Tomoka I was on a school of trout that are not quite so spooked. Of course the two guys in the chopper did not know that.
As they passed right overhead, the 17-inch trout hit the MirrOlure and my rod arched. They immediately took notice and hovered to watch the action. When the trout came to the net, I held it up to show them and they waved and left. As I said, fishing schooler trout is quite different than big reds and on the very next cast I hooked an undersized fish so the whirlybird did no harm. Still, I hope the guys in the helicopter realize it is not a good thing to hang over a fisherman who is not anchored up.
Flounder are still very slow although I have managed to jig up a couple. As I wade, I can tell from the imprints on the bottom they have not yet moved in with any numbers. It is a good sign that baitfish are more plentiful in the northern Halifax. Loads of finger mullet have showed up so the predators will be right behind. The water quality is still very good.
Right now is a great time to get on the water. Temperatures are comfortable and the humidity is still down. I hope you take advantage of the good weather and be sure and take a kid along.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to email@example.com. His book, "I Swear the Snook Drowned," is available for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.