Mosquito Lagoon, Tom Van Horn


Orlando Area and Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report, February 4, 2017


This Weeks Orlando Area and Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report, February 4, 2017

One Last Cast, Remembering TJ

With deep sadness I begin this week’s fishing report with a tribute to my good friend TJ Stallings. TJ departed this earth on January 31, 2017 to fish forever in the tranquil waters of heaven. After a battle with cancer, the Lord asked TJ to join him in the arm of angles for his journey on earth was complete and the Lord needed advice on how to build a better hook and become a better angler.

Raised during same era in the 1970’s on the lakes and rivers of Central Florida our paths only crossed on a few occasions as kids when I would visit Tim’s Tackle Box. In the days before the mighty Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mountains and Dick Sporting Goods, Tim’s Tackle Box was the premier fishing tackle stores in Orlando and the meeting place and hangout of those who loved fishing and sharing knowledge about catching. Owned and operated by TJ’s father, Tim’s Tackle Box is where as a kid I learned to tie a better knot, chose the right tackle, and catch more fish.  TJ and his brother Ron grew up learning and sharing their lifelong passion for fishing with others, and they carried this passion together into life working for TTI Blakemore Fishing Group, which utilized TJ’s concepts for Daiichi Bleeding Bait hooks.

Later in life as my fishing career developed, TJ and I grew closer as he freely shared his knowledge, wisdom and guidance with me and we reminisced about our youthful days in Central Florida.  Working his way up through the fishing tackle industry TJ served as a mentor for many and as a shining example of how true passion for fishing and the outdoors, respect for mankind and the value of our resources can make us all better anglers and better people.

TJ, you will be truly missed in my heart and the hearts of many, but one day we will be sitting side by side  again on shoreline of a place where the sun is always shining, fish are always chewing and our lines are always tight.  God bless you and thank you for sharing your passion for life and the legacy you leave with us here on earth.

American Shad on Fly

This week’s fishing adventures began on the banks of the St Johns River where I had the pleasure of joining seven other anglers on a quest to catch shad on fly: (

Shad on Fly is a recently developed Facebook group headed by Chad Helenthal with an interest in catching American shad on fly and hiking into backwater areas difficult to assess by boat.

Our hike began at the Florida Trail trailhead at the entrance to the Canaveral Marsh Conservation Area just off of Hwy 50 east of the Orange County line.  After meeting at 0800 we headed south down the trail carrying the necessary gear and supplies for a day of fishing.  The hike leader, Phillippe Richen, had made this same trip before, and he guided us to the river’s edge adjacent to the Seven Palms Shelter.  The total walking time was just under an hour and we spent the next five hours fishing for shad on light fly tackle.  Currently the water levels on the St Johns are extremely low which was apparent by our ability to wade completely across the river.  My choice of tackle was a 4 weight rod with a sinking tippet utilizing very small tandem flies, and I managed to catch 14 fish, six different species, three of which were American and hickory shad.  This year’s shad run has been poor thus far, but at least we know some fish have reached the upper St Johns River.  Although it was a beautiful day in a beautiful location, the catching was slow but great fun and adventure nonetheless.

My next two charters carried me to the Mosquito Lagoon where again the water levels are extremely low.  Water clearly on the other hand is improving, but the combination of low and clear water have made the fish super spooky.  Many fish were sighted over the two days of fishing, but getting a lure in front of them and getting them to eat was the challenge.  All said and done between the two days, we spent 16 hours on the water enjoying some of the prettiest weather you could imagine chasing fish with only four sea trout caught.  Did I mention it was a stunning two days of fishing!

As always, if you need information, have any questions or would like to book and fishing adventure, please contact me.

Good luck and good fish, and God bless you TJ,

Captain Tom Van Horn