Stopped into the Fishing Shack on A1A at the east end of the Port Orange Bridge a few days back. That's a bait and tackle shop that makes the most of a small space. It's always fun to see the new lures the fellows there are promoting.
Ritchie showed me a neat set-up he has come up with. It is a dual jig combo, but the way he ties it, the two leaders won't entangle. On top, he has a floating jig head and at the bottom, a lead head.
Rich says he has tried it with my favorite chartreuse jig, and it worked just fine, but you could use just about any soft jig.
If you are new to jig fishing, and haven't had much success, this might be the rig for you. The flash of a double jig will get hits. Rich says he likes to use it to locate the fish and then settle into using other baits.
Also, new in the Shack is Mike Hakala's photo spoons. Mike is a longtime local lure maker from New Smyrna Beach and he knows fishing and fisherman. We all know that the flash of a spoon is a great attractor, but with this lure the surface of the spoon is painted with an actual fish. The thing is quite attractive and is bound to catch fishermen. I could see it as a tie clasp, but hey, I don't want to make these guys mad. If they say it works, I believe it. Mike and the Fishing Shack both have great reputations.
Will Torres sent me a nice photo of a 28-inch snook that he captured and released recently. Will is a super snook fisherman and somehow always manages to get more than his share.
Black drum have been coming onto the boards under the Port Orange Bridge, but it is a nighttime thing. I'm still catching flounder most everywhere I go.
Stopped on the pier beneath the Granada Bridge and caught two flatfish under the gazebo. I was fishing for trout with a black bass worm and when that didn't work out, I flipped the worm under the boards to see if a flounder might be lurking. Sure enough, I pulled out the pair. Up at the Tomoka State Park I am still catching trout around the islands and at Gary's Inlet - none big enough to call "gator," but nice keepers up to 20 inches. As I said last week, the flounder have been large and this week, I had one that went 22 inches. The shrimp run seems to have finally ended, but you can never be sure unless you try it.
The mangrove snapper are thick in both rivers right now and are keepers. Tomoka River has lots of ladyfish to keep you occupied and a few jacks. Redfish continue to be scarce.
Down at Mosquito Lagoon Captain Leo Hiles reports that the water is still suffering from the algae bloom. My main concern with the colored water is that the grass won't get enough sun to survive. The thing that makes The Lagoon special is all of the clear water and the healthy sea grasses that it spawns. If this algae thing hangs around, I worry about the grass dying off. Leo says that right now the salinity is way too high there as well. That can't be a good combination.
We are definitely in the middle of our dog days of summer, but actually the fishing is not too bad. Get out early or late and you will find something to stretch your line.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, "I Swear the Snook Drowned," is available for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.