Sunday, July 17, 2016

Florida's Disaster

Saying it's been really hot out is putting it mildly, it's actually brutally hot by noon most days recently here in The Everglades. As most don't like to visit the area during the summer months because of the heat are only missing out on some fantastic fishing.  

I remember many years ago living in Vermont hearing how Florida's government was totally corrupt. I've seen the rumor prove itself over and over again in the last eighteen years or so living here. Finally Florida is beginning to get the much needed and overdue national exposure it so deserves over this most current situation.Time will tell if anything will actually get resolved. Not that Vermont was a perfect state but the people there do care about their environment and the situation that's here in Florida would have been addressed and they would have enacted solutions a long time ago.

Not the only but one of the main culprits is the under regulated polluted agricultural waters being released from Lake Okeechobee full of fertilizer nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus and then another is livestock waste runoff from the large cattle ranches which is creating deadly algae which has killed or is killing many estuary's and gulf and Atlantic shorelines, killing seagrasses, sea life and other wildlife in many parts of the state. Thank god it's not having any effect in this area of the Western Everglades, at least not yet. I have to admit even though I was aware of the situation I didn't realize the full impact till this past winter as some of my kayak fishing customers and other fisherman I met and talked to were coming here from these areas of Florida because their home waters were polluted and dying from the runoffs and not worth fishing.   
I'm not going to get into a drawn out article on the ecological disaster that's happening but if you live in the state you should be aware of the situation and if from out of the state and you are not aware of what is happening please check out the links below which have a ton of information and articles. 

Even though this disaster has been in the works for many years and I really hate to talk politics but this disaster has direct implications of the actions and inaction's of the current state Republican government from the governor, Rick Scott, most state legislators, US senator Marco Rubio and all the appointed heads of all the departments related to this issue.

Please check out the website and their Facebook page HERE.            

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Early Morning Success

Fishing early before the heat of the day and daily storms has been key in having a successful day of kayak fishing here in The Everglades.

Plenty of good sized snook around

No one has managed to boat some of the larger (20lb) backcountry tarpon recently with me but these smaller crazy guys are just as much fun to catch as far as I'm concerned especially on fly.
These exotics, the Mayan Cichlids appear to be populating more and more areas in the backcountry and are an almost guaranteed catch when fishing now. I would consider them an invasive species now but they are pretty and loads of fun to catch with a light fly setup. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Snook Season

Everything is finally coming together. There have been nice cool mornings over the last few days with warmer afternoons. The next couple of months should be ideal conditions for fishing especially for larger snook and juvenile tarpon in many of the backcountry areas, There are never no guarantees but seeing and catching some nice fish recently are very good signs for the foreseeable future. Even though the fishing can be great, when we get into June the daily rains typically begin and temperatures will soar so now is a good time to kayak fish this area of The Everglades.
For those that have been following some of the devastation of the waters and the fishery from the state government dumping polluted water out of Lake Okeechobee, it hasn't had any effect on this area of the state (yet). For those uninformed about this disaster and other concerns about how the state is trying to cover up the water problems please check out this site:   


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Moving Forward in the Everglades

Well again it looks like it's been awhile since my last post. It was a long couple of months with some not so normal winter weather. Even with catching some nice fish on a couple of trips it was tough to find any fish on others.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Moving into spring we're having more warmer days and the water is finally warming back up again. With that, more fish are showing up and I've already seen a few very large snook.
I had a couple of disappointed clients recently lose larger fish mainly due to operator error, both were flyfishing. Forewarning and explaining how to setup and deal with some of these fish out of a kayak is night and day compared to say freshwater bass fishing and you'll never know what the excitement is all about until you experience this fishery for yourself.
Anyway, looking forward to the warmer weather and hoping for more predictable fishing conditions. I hope to have some great fishing reports coming in the following weeks.  

Thursday, February 25, 2016

El Niño Blues

Wow, it's been awhile since my last posting, sorry about that. I have to say there hasn't been a real lot to post about. There have been a few great days with some decent fish caught over the last month or so but this has got to be one of the most challenging winters for fishing that I can remember here in the Everglades. The weather this year has been anything but normal and the fish haven't been the most cooperative. Typically, winter is our dry season but we've had a tremendous amount of rain from January up until now along with some much cooler temperatures. Apparently this has all been to a "El Niño" weather pattern .

I have a few trips booked over the next couple of weeks and I'll follow up with a report in a week or so. If your planning to book a trip please call, the weather and fishing conditions are only going to improve moving into spring.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Expectations in The Everglades

Having spent so much time out in The Everglades you would think I've got it all figured out as far as where the fish are and I always catch big fish but in reality that's just not how it always is. I am not god but I can be fairly successful in finding and catching fish however, the weather can play a big part in having a successful fishing day, especially during the winter months.

Most come here with an open mind to kayak fish and to experience and enjoy The Everglades while some others come here having very high expectations of catching many fish or even that great monster snook.

During the winter months when most visitors come down to Florida to escape the weather of their northern states many with the high expectations of great success and great conditions can be however in for a bit of a surprise. Here in The Everglades although generally warmer than even much of Florida we have our share of cold fronts that come through and most likely will effect the fishing, sometimes for the better and sometimes not. Catching the weather at the right time along with other conditions, tides etc. the fishing can be phenomenal such as some pre-front conditions but other times fishing can be a bit tougher.

I have to say that I have caught some very nice fish under the worst conditions so even with planning a trip considering all the variables it's sometimes hard to predict the outcome.

A nice crazy tarpon from the other day 

This redfish was a real survivor with it's head crushed in and blind in one eye maybe caused from a dolphin aggressively hit a top water plug and fought like a champ. 

Snook have been sporadic in the backcountry but that should change soon. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Everglades Snook Fishing

 It’s a beautiful morning just before sunrise as we make our way through a mangrove tunnel on a shallow tidal creek ( thinking if the water gets any lower we will have to get out and drag the boats through). The guys struggle behind me as I lead them through in our kayaks and clear out the spider webs as best I can for them. The creek’s mostly to narrow to actually paddle and is very overgrown so you basically have to pull yourself through using the mangrove branches and roots. I tell everyone make sure it’s actually a branch and not something else that you are grabbing. One of the guys asks if there are any gators back in here and I tell him “Welcome to The Everglades”.

 With a dramatic sunrise we exit the creek onto a small lake that's glass calm. Many of these lakes in this area of the Everglades are tidal waters and also brackish but at first glance it could be any small lake found most anywhere in the country. The sound of silence is broken by a distinctive clapping sound of a snook feeding on something somewhere under the mangrove lined shoreline. Sometimes it’s more of a crashing sound of a larger snook feeding. Of course most of these lakes can hold a variety of different fish including juvenile tarpon, redfish, maybe largemouth bass and different exotics but our target fish today is snook. We rig up gurglers on the fly rods and Zara Spook topwater plugs for the spinning rods and we then begin our hunt.

 The Common Snook (Centropumis Undecimalis) is the most abundant and grow the largest out of the four varieties of snook in Florida. After a devastating fish kill from a major cold front that came through in 2010 they are now on the rebound with more larger fish now being caught again. They are a subtropical species living mostly in the southern half of the Florida peninsula in the US and south throughout much of the Caribbean and Central America. They can be found in just about all bodies of water including freshwater lakes and rivers, estuaries and all other saltwater habitats and can grow quite large to upwards of thirty pounds or more. For many including myself this game fish is right at the top of the list to catch here. In the quiet backwater places where I prefer to spend my time and fish for them usually is a very big challenge to actually boat some of these mighty fish, especially when in tight quarters and from the kayak or canoe. There are many nicknames for these powerful fish but I like to call them “bass on steroids”. Along with some vicious headshakes and sometimes spectacular jumps to throw your hook some of the fish are powerful enough to drag you and your anchored kayak into the mangroves followed by breaking  you off. It can be somewhat of a comedy act watching people hook up and try to deal with catching some of these larger fish. When someone does manage to boat a big snook is always a time for “high fives” and a celebration, of course that’s after the shakes stop and they regain their composure.

 I have been exploring and fishing this western area of The Everglades for many years now and fell in love with the area after moving south in the 90’s from Vermont. Other than Everglades City and Chokoloskee this very southwest area of Florida is mostly void of any development unlike much of the state and is still very wild thanks to it being part of and surrounded by Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve along with other parks and preserves. Hopefully it will stay this way for eternity. There are over two million acres at any ones disposal to explore and fish for the infamous snook and other game fish but getting to many of the places may be a different story. It’s common for flats boats and other skiffs to get to some of the more remote places in the park(s) but getting into many of the backwater places where it can be a very hard access with it being very shallow and overgrown can be near impossible. Most use canoes and kayaks to access many of these areas. Some will paddle and do multi-day camping trips to get to these places but more and more people are transporting their kayaks and canoes by motor boat. The main kayak that I have preferred to use to access many of these areas has been Native Watercraft’s Ultimate series of kayaks, a sort of hybrid of a canoe and a kayak where you can easily stow your gear and fishing equipment along with having a great fishing platform being able to comfortably stand and fish out of.

 For those that have had a chance to kayak fish with me in The Everglades know what a great experience it is and if you haven’t this is for sure a place to add to your bucket list of places to visit, kayak and explore and maybe catch one of these larger snook for yourself.