Tag Archives: Mosquito Lagoon

Making Lemonade

You’ve heard the saying… What do you do when life hands you a pile of lemons? Make lemonade.

Making Lemonade

That’s exactly what Billy Rotne, Rod Mergardt and I did when fishing in FL last week. In 4 days of fishing (hard), in perfect weather, we managed just three Redfish, two small Tarpon (in the 20 Lb range) and a handful of other “non-targeted” fish (shark, sea trout, catfish etc.). The lone highlight of the trip was a double hook-up by Rod and I with a 17.5 Lb. and 33 Lb. Redfish across from T.O.’s bar on Mosquito Lagoon. Rod also had a close encounter of the 4th kind with a baby manatee that was approximately 60 pounds.

Rod’s 17 lb Redfish also had an attached tag that revealed it’s growth and migration over the past several years. A very interesting report is attached. Continue reading »

The Hunt For RedZilla (2016)

Sunrise on the Lagoon

Sunrise on the Lagoon

Although the fishing was challenging, the weather was stellar as James Jiloty, Lloyd Kaplan, Billy Rotne and I seemed to cover every inch of Mosquito Lagoon in our ongoing hunt for Redzilla (the monster 70 Lb. redfish). Continue reading »

A Few From Yesterday

It was a great 58th birthday today with Captain Billy and Ron Burnside. Ron and I each landed a 34 LB Redfish (Ron’s within the first 15 minutes of the day and mine on the last cast of the day). My fish was likely a migratory fish that has been out to the ocean and Ron’s a resident fish that has never left the lagoon. Interesting how the only difference between the two fish was a 1/4 inch in length.

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Also, we sight cast to feeding Black drum and some very cautious mid-sized Redfish throughout the day.

More to follow as the Spring Field Campaign moves to Puerto Rico for Tarpon.


101 Pounds of Redfish – Oh My!!!!

101 Pounds of Redfish Oh MyIt was truly a grand day out on Mosquito Lagoon today.  Captain Billy Rotne, James Jiloty and I went three for three with a 27, 30 and 34 Lb. Redfish.   A spectacular sunrise, perfect weather and no other fisherman made for a “PR” day for James as he landed his largest fish ever – a 44.5” x 24.5” 34 Lb. beast.

Out for another 2 days this weekend and hopefully we will be able to play with a 50” 50 pounder.

More to follow, but for now, enjoy the images below.

T.O. Continue reading »

Operation Code Red – Update Two

For your entertainment.

Another spectacular day on Mosquito Lagoon in Titusville, FL.  Perfect weather with temps in the 70”s and not a breath of wind.  We also experienced a simultaneous sunrise and full moon set.

We have collected data on 22 fish thus far.  A surprising number of class 5 and 6 fish which are very difficult to catch..

Here is a chart that illustrates the data and Length x girth formula trend line.

We are observing a slightly different formula denominator for each of the 6 fish classifications.

Additional fish for a larger sample size should reduce the variance.




The combined data for actual weight compared to the weight calculated using the formula (Girth2 x Length)/759 is within 1%.


Best fish today was a 42.75” x 24.75” 33.0 Lb. monster.  My fourth largest Redfish to date.

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More to follow.


Operation Code Red – Update One

For your entertainment.

Captain Billy has been busy over the last few days focusing on catching several Class 5 Redfish for our research study.  Keep in mind that Class 5 and 6 fish are the most difficult to catch and are considered a rare trophy for an angler.  The attached summary represents our progress to date.  Each week over the next four months, we will get closer to having very accurate data for creating a reliable on line calculator to determine overall Redfish weight based upon length and girth measurements.

Operation Code Red February 12 update

More to follow every few weeks,


Redfish study to be conducted on Mosquito Lagoon – Operation “Code Red”


Being the measurement guy that I am, I’m not very happy that there has never been a scientifically based study to accurately determine the overall body weight of Redfish based upon an accepted length and girth formula.

Operation “Code Red” is a research study to be conducted by Captain Billy Rotne and Tom Olivo throughout 2104 that will establish the most accurate formula to calculate the weight of Redfish.

The Underlying Motivation:

Since we were not able to safely weigh the giant Redfish that we landed on January 15th that was 54 inches long and 30 inches in girth, we are going to create an on-line calculator that can be used for anglers to more accurately determine the weight of their fish.  Without this research, the estimated body weight range for this fish would be between 58.32 Lbs on the low end and 73.25 Lbs on the high end.  Since anglers tend to “guess high” on the size and weight of their fish, it is important that we actually establish a formula that can be used as a basis for determining PR’s and State line class records.

Please read the overview if you have time and if you get a chance to fish with us in 2014, your catches will be included in the study.

We will keep you updated each month on our progress.


New Florida State Record Redfish!

Friends of Fly Fishing Portraits,

The attached story is about a truly unique fishing experience this past Wednesday in Titusville FL.  I had the privilege of fishing once again with my good friend Captain Billy Rotne and we had an encounter of the third kind.  We caught and released a FL Redfish that exceeded the State record by over 8 pounds.  At 54 inches by 30 inches, it calculated to be 60.75 Lbs., shattering the existing record of 52.5 Lbs. that was established in 1996.  To think that over the past 100 years, thousands of people have caught millions of redfish and for this to be the largest one ever landed is something truly special.

New Florida State Record

I felt compelled to capture the detailed story of the experience as soon as possible (worried that my current level of brain damage might forget key elements of the experience).

Please read the story if you have time and provide feedback.  If you don’t have time to read the attached file, here is the executive summary

Capt. Billy Rotne and I were fortunate enough to hook and land the largest Redfish ever caught in Mosquito lagoon and establish a new FL State record in the process.  Fishing with ultra-light spinning tackle, 10 Lb. test braided line and a 20 Lb. monofilament tippet.  We were able to coax this impressive fish to take a ½ section of FL crab in a 3 Ft. deep section of the channel that was parallel to a large shallow bar.  After an epic battle that lasted approximately 45 minutes, the fish was landed and released safely.  It measured 54” long and 30” in girth and weighed approximately 60.75 Lbs.  The end result is that we shattered the existing FL State record for a Redfish (currently at 52.5 Lbs.) by over 8 pounds.

We are in the process of formally applying for the IGFA fishing record which should take a few months to process.

We will keep you up to date with the application progress and will continue to forward pictures of our great fishing outings.

Thanks and remember to plan your trips for 2014.

Fly Fishing Portraits, LLC.

The 50-Pounder!


Oh baby.

What a beast and what a battle.
More to follow.


Katie’s 42 x 22

Katie hit the Jackpot today with her 42” x 22” Redfish.

Katie's 42 x 22 (2)

Under challenging conditions she endured a great fight to land her best red fish of the trip.

Katie's 42 x 22 (3)

With winds that hit 25 MPH and waves approaching 3 ft. the people who fished the longest ultimately had the best day.

Katie's 42 x 22 (4)

One more day to follow where we are still searching for the ultimate prize, a 50” – 50 LB behemoth.

Katie's 42 x 22 (1)