Here in beautiful Volusia County we are very fortunate to have several spots that make us a world class fishing destination.

As a kid in Louisiana, I was well aware of the reputation of the big St. Johns River. Each time I leafed through an outdoors magazine, I would find photos of the big largemouth bass that came from the St. Johns.

When I arrived in the late 1960s, I couldn't wait to unfurl my flyrod there. I had a lot of fun, but eventually would discover that the best fishing in Volusia County was in Mosquito Lagoon.

I was somewhat surprised by that. Sure I had seen the pictures of the big red drum and gator trout that came from Eastern Volusia County, but back then the Mosquito Lagoon name just did not carry the recognition.

I began fishing the Lagoon from a little wooden runabout and would race down the Indian River before turning east into places I knew nothing about. That led me to be out of the boat and pushing a lot of the time. The Lagoon is nothing if not treacherous boating.

After a while, I learned how to better navigate the place and eventually hooked up with Capt. Leo Hiles, who helped my education immensely.

In Mosquito Lagoon there are several places that are famous on their own. Turtle Mound and the nearby Eldora are legendary for big spotted sea trout. A little west is Orange Isle, as fine a place to catch reds as there is.

When I first arrived here, I needed to go no further than The Government Cut to have fun and catch a meal. The big Blue Hole was just to the south.

Good, but of all the places I have fished in Mosquito Lagoon, Tiger Shoals has to be the best. That consists of a big arcing sandbar that runs for about a mile from the roads end in Canaveral National Seashore on the east to the channel in the Indian River to the west. For decades it has been my "go to" place in the Lagoon for sea trout.

On the south side of the bar the water is shallow and the strong tide pushes bait fish in for an easy meal for the big gator trout that wait there. The south side is best fished early.

Not too long ago I was there just before dawn with my buddies Brad and Rick Kayholm of Wham Bam Charters to try for those fat trout. By the time the sun was full up, we had boated nearly 30 and I personally had caught the most big trout ever on one trip. What fun!

On the north side of the bar the water is a bit deeper with a grassy bottom and it is a perfect breeding place for juvenile trout. The lagoon has a large cadre of professional guides and often they will finish out their morning, allowing their clients to catch and release those feisty little trout. The tourists love it!

Mosquito Lagoon provides a big boon to the local economy on so many levels. Food, fuel, rooms, and bait and tackle to name a few. These days the lagoon is hurting and under attack from people and nature. This fall when you vote, remember to vote for water quality and let's help out the fabulous Mosquito Lagoon.

Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to fishwdan@att.net. His book, “I Swear the Snook Drowned,” is available for purchase for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.

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