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I fished five days this week in both fresh and salt water with varying degrees of success. The good days, however, were outstanding.

Monday, I fished in Lake Brantley in Longwood to scout fish for a charter later in the week. I caught ten bass to four pounds using a small zara spook, a crankbait, weedless zoom fluke, and a small clouser minnow fly. After the sun came up, most of the fish were caught over the grass beds in 8-10 feet of water.

Tuesday, my charter cancelled so Capt. Tom Van Horn joined me for some fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon. The company was good but the catching was slow. Capt. Tom caught a trout on a chug bug and two reds on a gold jerk bait. Approaching storms ran us off the water.

Wednesday, I fished with Carl Sweitzer from Pennsylvania. We found a school of big redfish which, surprisingly, we had all to ourselves. We had three blue crabs and Carl used each one to catch a red between 21 and 28 pounds. We shelled the crab and put it on a 5/0 circle hook. It only took a few casts for Carl to hook up with the fish and we left them biting.

The next stop was full of huge trout from 5-10 pounds. A topwater plug drew no strikes so Carl switched to a gold jerkbait. He managed to draw a few strikes but was unable to get a hook set in the fish. Throughout the day, we consistently saw reds and big trout. Carl landed one more red on the gold worm, hooking the fish only two feet from the boat.

Thursday, I returned to Lake Brantley with Phil Anderson, his father Phil and his son, Evan. It was more of an instructional session than a fish catching expedition as we practiced various bass fishing techniques. I hooked several small bass while demonstrating lures and Phil Sr. caught a fish on a topwater bait and a plastic worm.

Friday, Mike Duehring and ten year old Michael from Wisconsin were on board for a half day trip for redfish and trout. Within the first hour, both father and son caught two big reds on cut mullet with the biggest being a 31 pound beauty caught by Mike. Both father and son did an excellent job of fighting their biggest fish ever.

To land and weigh these fish, we used a fish sling made from two pieces of PVC pipe and a section of soft netting. The fish remain docile, are fully supported, and can be weighed by hanging the net from a scale with the fish in a horizontal position. Hanging large fish by the jaw has been shown to cause damage to their tendons which may prevent them from being able to eat. This is an example of the net in action.

We left the reds to pursue some trout. We caught several in 2-4 feet of water on Capt. Joe's Shredders and a white bucktail jig. After dropping Mike and Michael off at the ramp, I went back out to do some prospecting. I encountered several more schools of reds and caught 3 fish on a Mirrolure She Dog, a DOA Baitbuster, and a Redfish Magic spinnerbait all between 1 and 3pm. The redfish have been targeting mullet heavily recently and have been less willing to eat small crab and fish imitations that work well in the winter.

Capt. Chris Myers
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