Located on the east coast of Florida, New Smyrna Beach is a gorgeous place to vacation and catch fish. Many come to fish the Mosquito Lagoon, a 22 mile stretch of water that’s part of the Indian River Lagoon System. It has a reputation for having excellent year-round flats fishing —especially in the shallow draft flats.
Skiff fishing is common in the lagoon areas. Anglers usually propel the skiff over the shallow flats using a pole, rather than paddling with an oar. Light spinning tackle and fly rods are typically used while flat fishing from a skiff. Some fishermen using trolling motors. Whichever you use, it’s important to keep the noise to a minimum to avoid spooking the fish.
You can also see a lot of wildlife at New Smyrna Beach. This makes it ideal family vacationing and fishing. There’s manatees, dolphins, heron, pelicans and more. Plus the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is a mere 20 minutes south of the beach. It’s one of the most pristine pieces of coastline in Florida.
Native Fish Species
New Smyrna Beach boasts plenty of great game fish. Sea trout, redfish, and black drum can be caught 365 days per years. Redfish and sea trout are by far the two most prevalent fish species in this region. During summer, you should target tarpon and snook. They’re active in the Mosquito Lagoon’s inshore waters.
Towards the inlet there are more fish species. Docks and creeks harbor flounder, sheephead, snapper, ladyfish, grouper, and sharks. If you fish nearshore off the Atlantic Coast you can catch jacks, kingfish, cobia, barracuda, false albacore and more. If you choose to go surf fishing, you can snag pompano, bluefish, redfish, whiting, drum, and mackerel.
Where to fish
For site fishing from a skiff, the central and southern parts of Mosquito Lagoon is the best choice. You can also fish the northern Mosquito Lagoon, and the Ponce inlet areas. Just be prepared to devote more time these areas because they cover a lot of space. And don’t forget to hit key fishing spots along the beach, such as reefs and nearshore wrecks.
If you’re hitting the flats, use a 7 or 7 1/2 foot medium action rod. We suggest using 10 pound braided line with a 20 pound leader. Use a reel size of 2500 for the most success. Keep in mind, if you’re going after tarpon you should use a 30-50 pound leader.
For dock fishing, we recommend using a stiffer rod. Use 15-20 pound braid, so you can safely pull fish from pilings once they’re on the line. If you opt to go nearshore fishing, then switch to a 4000-8000 size reel, and up the braid to 20-30 pounds. And if surf fishing is your game, then go with an 8-10 foot surf rod with a large reel.
If you’re fly fishing, try a 7 weight rod and floating line. If you’re targeting larger fish, then go with a 9 weight rod —for example big redfish and trout. But keep in mind that average size fish can be caught on a 5 – 7 weight rod.