Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring Arrives!

Spring is here. I can't believe how fast the winter flew by. Other than being very windy it was a fairly mild winter here in The Everglades. Due to the winds most of the time was spent fishing in many of my back country areas. This winter season has been my most busiest so far and even though things are slowing down I will still be fairly busy through the next month or so before I take an extended break. Many of my clients this year were repeats from years past but also many newcomers and it has been a joy to introduce them to my Everglades and to fish with me. I have some great memories of these trips and I'm sure they have them also.   

The fishing this winter has been generally pretty good. Of course there have been some slower days. Not many trout this winter but I haven't gotten out in the more open waters where I have my trout spots. Most fish caught this winter has been snook and even though there are tons of smaller fish around quite a few larger fish were caught. Most of the redfish caught have all been a good size this year. Being mostly in the back country of course there have been tarpon around and though not many in the boat but there were some nice hookups with a few nicer size juveniles up to around 30lbs. Miscellaneous other fish caught were jacks, mangrove snapper and ladyfish.     

I've been kind of off the grid getting involved with anything to do with the kayak fishing world recently because of being so busy with my kayak fishing charters but I try and follow whats going on. The sport has become very popular from what I can see throughout the country (and world) and is continuing to grow. Along with the growing sport comes a multitude of related new company's, Kayaks, accessories and tackle to name some. My little rant this week is about many of the "Pro-Staffers" out there. Along with those who went out and caught a few nice fish and decided they were worthy to become a guide comes the pro-staffers. There has always been those that were sponsored and those that were on pro staff's. It has become a lot more popular and a great marketing strategy for many company's to get the word out there about their product but, there appears to be as of late many new pro staffers out there who appear to be confused as to what a pro staffer is and what the Pro stands for, it is Promotional and not Professional. I believe a true pro-staffer is one who believes in a product enough to help promote it and not one who is on a pro-staff only for the benefits of getting free or discounted items. I've turned down many company's to promote their product only because what I already use I know works for me. On the right side of the page are some company's who sponsor me and who I am on the pro-staff with such as, Native Watercraft as an example which I used years before I was accepted as an endorsed guide. I use their kayaks because they work for me and the terrain I fish in. I promote them because I believe in the boats...    

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March Everglades Madness

It's been a very busy month for me being pretty much straight out with doing my kayak fishing charters. I had only a couple of chances to get out on my own to check out some of my fishing holes. Usually I will try and get out every couple of days to prefish certain  areas a day or two prior to bringing clients there especially when conditions are changing constantly. Things still worked out well although there were a couple of slower fishing days due mostly to the weather. 

The fishing I did do myself was actually very successful with a few small tarpon hookups, one a bit larger, around 25lbs. I didn't land any of them. Also caught a couple of decent size snook around 30" and two nice fat redfish, one around 30" and the other larger around 32".

I still have some openings for trips through May so if interested in going please send me an Email. I'm not taking any reservations for June.

Here's a few random photos of some of the recent shore launched and mothership trips.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mid Winter Season Everglades '14

The Everglades in winter, a destination for many from the northern states. Many newcomers have high expectations of great weather and great fishing. We do however here in The Everglades experience some winter conditions as anywhere else, maybe not as drastic, but we  have our share of cold fronts that can or will directly effect our fishing conditions, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. I always hope that my new clients show up with an open mind especially when there are more adverse conditions. Of course I want them to catch fish but to also enjoy the wilderness and wildlife of The Everglades and have a great experience, one they will always remember. 

I can pretty much on any given day go out and find and catch fish no matter what the conditions are however it's not without it's challenges even with spending a tremendous amount of time on the area waters. Using kayaks limits how far you can travel and where you can go when the weather turns sour. Having to concentrate on a smaller area is a great advantage to kayak fishing vs motor boats but if there are no fish there or they won't eat, you have limited options other than paddling longer distances to another area or back to the launch, packing up and calling it for that day.
We've had a fairly mild winter so far but also had a few cold fronts come through. Water temperatures have dropped quite a bit with cooler nights along with some cool days and it seems like the winds have been nonstop this year. The winds if anything have kept me mostly concentrating in the backwaters.

 Most every trip thus far this year have been successful and enjoyed by everyone. Some days the fishing has been slower than others but everyone has caught fish, mostly snook, a few tarpon and redfish. I've been straight out busy with trips and will be for the next month or so and look forward to a few days off. I'm thinking right now of accepting reservations for charters through May so if your planning on kayak fishing with me in the near future please make your reservations soon, Thanks!  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Snook Bite

A moment in time, a split second to realize the bite of a larger snook. I think the feeling can only come with time after hooking up with a few larger fish before you become aware or know when it happens. That instance to very quickly decipher the bite of a big fish or is it a snag on a branch or something else under the water. I sight fish whenever I can but many times fishing here in the Everglades the water is stained or muddy. You are fishing, blind casting in areas or places that could possibly hold a big fish. Most of the big snook I've caught have been by blind casting. I think that many of the larger fish just casually ate my bait not being at all very aggressive, I felt the "bite", set the hook and then all hell broke loose and the fight was on.
In the last year looking at my logs and photos I caught a few nice sized snook along with loosing a couple of very large one's. I caught over six fish in the mid thirties, a couple larger around 38" and one fish at or just over 40 inches. The ones I lost were well over 40 inches. For catching snook around here in the western Everglades this is a very good success rate without being modest, at least that's the consensus with discussions with some other area guides and fisherman. My success rate has increased over the years, especially the last couple but I think it's because I spend so much time out there and can most or many times truly tune in to my surroundings.

 I think the snook population is recovering well from the major fish kill we had a few years ago but still have a way to go before population levels reach levels of years past. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Secret Spots

I think there is something to be said about the enjoyment of catching a nice fish knowing not only that you figured out how to catch that fish but also figured out that place where the fish was caught. I relate it a lot to hunting. To me it’s part of the overall enjoyment of it all. Fishing as a kid, usually with a friend or two, we would jump on our bikes and head to a nearby pond or lake to fish and figure out where the fish were. Nobody told us exactly where to go.

Spending years exploring and fishing here in The Everglades, amongst other places throughout Florida; I have discovered many great places to fish with getting very few pointers from others. Gaining knowledge and information from others that guide or fish a particular area is a good resource to learn some about that area but rarely will they tell you exactly where they fish with good reason, they have put in the time to learn and find their fishing spots. My first few years here I averaged over 250, probably more, days exploring the area and even now I’m on the water a lot.

Kayak fishing has grown greatly in popularity in the last few years and over these years I have recommended many to refer to the internet (forums, etc) to gain more information on the sport. It still is a great resource for information but some of it has morphed into people talking about detailed places (even with exact map locations) where to kayak fish. As innocent as it may seem there is someone out there that is going to be very offended by this let alone taking away a portion of the sport of fishing itself. If someone had passed on information that I had given them, particularly locations, I would call it “stealing”. I have always been more than happy to share information about kayak fishing but I have been fairly vague with locations and spots in my reports for this reason. I've made the mistake in the past of telling or showing someone a particular place only to find them there later with friends or someone else they told about those places. I agree with the term that there are no secret spots but when I run into someone fishing an unlikely place that I might fish it will make me wonder about what brought them there.

Understanding there are many who only have limited time or days to be out kayak fishing (especially in new areas and especially here in the Everglades) there will no doubt be some slow days fishing. You just might get lucky but hiring and learning from a guide and researching all you can about the new area will greatly increase your chances of being successful in the future. It will be so much more rewarding when you go out on your own after and "find" that spot on your own and catch that nice fish.

(Update 1/21/14)
"I was surprised how many responses I have received since writing this article. I've received many  emails and a few phone calls in support of what I have said. Although what I said was never directed towards any particular individual and I was just generalizing there are a couple out there that apparently took offence to what I said thinking I was speaking of them. These couple of individuals never contacted me directly with their response but instead decided to write about me with their brazen and stupid comments hiding behind their keyboards on another site and one Florida forum. One nice thing about this blog I can see whoever put's out a link to my site. Personally, I don't take offence to the negative comments, I know there are a lot of strange characters and assholes out there and think it's pretty funny with some of the responces. As far as this article, if you don't agree with what I've said please feel free to contact me and I would love to discuss with you what a real sportsman is."       

Friday, December 27, 2013

Everglades Winds

 It appears that we are going to have a very windy winter here in The Everglades. Launching early has been the only relief from the windy conditions, at least for an hour or two before it starts blowing again. As frustrating as it can be when fly fishing it forces you to practice different casting skills in these adverse conditions.
The windy conditions have kept me mostly in the backwaters where you can usually find some protection, but lately a couple of days were very challenging.
Along with the windy conditions in a couple of places I fish the water has been blown out even though they are tidal waters and I've had to portage my boat to get in to some of these places. It's been worth it to me because of the rewards, catching a few nice fish.
I spend most of my time when fishing these areas standing and site fishing from the kayak and in these windy conditions has made it very difficult and I have spooked more larger fish that I want to admit to by not being able to see them. Many of the fish caught recently have been caught blind casting. 
I'll get out in the bay and more open water areas with the weather permitting. The winter trout are here along with the redfish.  
Yellow Legs

Friday, December 13, 2013

Everglades Winter Season

Dawn in The Everglades
Well, It's almost the end of another year. Time passes so quick. I began writing this blog over four years ago to write about my experiences in The Everglades, most of which has turned out to be mostly about the fishing which is my main passion with a hint of what the rest of the Everglades is all about. I have enjoyed doing it and gained a great following over the years and Thankyou! for the support. Thanks also for the support from Native Watercraft and all of my other great sponsors.
I have been bouncing around the idea and after around ten years that this may well be my last year of taking people out and showing them my Everglades and doing any guided fishing with the kayaks, we shall see. For now though, I'm looking forward to having another great season! Happy Holidays everyone !
Rarely fishing way up in the backcountry you catch a redfish here in the Everglades. You would say "no way" if you knew where I actually was. Anyway, Redfish are pretty much everywhere you go in Florida but this fish was a rare (Surprise) catch..being where I was. Not anywhere near the largest redfish I've caught but very near the prettiest with it's golden colors, it made my day for sure!
Tarpon in your face
Pound for pound my favorite fish to hookup with and catch in The Everglades. "No" bass will ever match up with hooking up and the fight of a snook. "Bass on steroids" as many of us around here call them.
Yours Truly, I thought a great shot by Dan Decibel fishing with him a week or so ago.
Winter prairie, early morning in Fakahatchee Strand