Saturday, July 19, 2014

Everglades Heat Up

Since my return from my trip to North Carolina I don't believe the temperature has gone much below 80 degrees here in the Everglades. By noon and for the rest of the day it's been 90 degrees plus, the humidity is way up and storms have been coming early many days. The bugs are another story. I've been planning my trips by the weather only and not bothering with the tides or moon phase. When there's a window to go fishing I go. It may not sound very inviting but the fishing actually has been very good, especially fishing for snook and young tarpon in the backwaters. 

When I've been going, it's been an early start before sunrise and finished by noon when it's super hot and the bite is basically over because of it. I've had a few very successful mornings recently fishing with both the fly rod and a spinning rod and using mostly topwater plugs and flys.
Anyway, I do look forward to some cooler days.

Looking at the upcoming winter season I have decided to offer and concentrate more on just fishing in the Everglades backcountry. This past winter due to so many windy days it was tough to get out in the bay and more open waters of the gulf and I don't want to put clients through the long paddle to get to my fishing areas. Instead, for any fishing in more salt waters where I would fish for reds and trout along with snook, tarpon and other species I will offer to kayak fish more around the Marco Island and Naples areas. I have many places up that way that I know very well and some awesome fishing with a lot shorter paddle.
I've booked a few trips already for the upcoming season and if you are planning a trip to the area and are thinking about fishing with me, contact me to reserve your day sooner than later so you are not disappointed, Thanks. 

This is Phil who fished with me just before I left for North Carolina with his very nice snook that he caught with me.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Lowlands To The Highlands

Well, I'm back from my annual pilgrimage to Western North Carolina to visit friends, fish and take a short break from The Everglades.    

To compare the two, it's like night and day, from the lowlands to the highlands. I first visit my old friend from Vermont, Brian Brace an accomplished and fellow furniture maker friend who has his shop in Black Mountain, NC. I use this town as my home base and fish the surrounding areas from here. After a couple of years of visiting the area I know a couple of local guides and others who fish the area and learn what I can from them and where I should fish.

I still consider myself somewhat of a novice fishing these creeks and small rivers but my success rate gets better each year I come back. Having really no clue on what flys to use when I arrive I stop at the local fly shop in Black Mountain, One Fly Outfitters to have them set me up with a selection to use.

Over the course of a couple of weeks I fished seven different creeks, a couple of these twice and it was pretty challenging I must say. I was told when I arrived it was after the "delayed harvest time" which means apparently  the creeks were basically fished out from all the local fisherman catching all the recently stocked fish which, really didn't matter to me because I would be fishing mostly in the upper sections higher in the mountains.

I fished hard thru some rough country. I hiked and bushwhacked up and threw many of these creeks where in many places were surrounded or overgrown by Rhododendron and other underbrush and trees. A good thing is I never came upon any bears or snakes which are fairly common in the area.

The fish are mostly native brook trout in these places and can tend (or seem) to be scarce. Most are not very big fish which never grow big because of this environment and the average fish was around 3 to 5 inches. It's very challenging fishing. Just about any catch here was a time for celebration.

The Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountain areas of North Carolina is stunning to say the least and if you have never been to this part of the country it's certainly a place to visit and check out. The fish I caught were just a bonus to being here and I look forward to return again next year.

My largest Brookie around 10"

A nice Brown Trout

My go to setup on most of these trips this year was a 5wt 7'6" TFO Professional Series II rod with a Lamson reel. The line was Royal Wulff "Ambush" series which was awesome for it's ease of roll casting. I had a short tapered leader with a tippet either 4X or 5X,
  and I used a variety of dry and terrestrial flys. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Snookery in The Everglades

It's still been kinda tough to kayak fish out in the bay and more open waters because of the windy conditions so I haven't even bothered. I'll continue to mainly fish many of the more (somewhat) protected areas in the Everglades back-country. Some mornings have been glass calm and I try to take advantage of that by getting out very early and then fish till around noon. The mosquitoes and horsefly's  have been pretty brutal when launching on a few of these last days but it's been a small price to pay for the good times and good fishing.

Nothing beats being out in the wilderness of The Everglades to explore and fish, totally unlike most any other place in Florida. Some day's the fishing is very challenging as anywhere but recently everything seems to have come together and the fishing has been very rewarding for everyone I've brought there. Above is a very nice sized snook I caught this last week. Fish that we have been catching have been mostly snook and juvenile tarpon, jacks and a few reds along with some exotics.   

So, speaking of the winds, this past Sunday I got a call from a good friend Dan Decibal around midday who was headed over this way with another friend Jason Fernandez to fish and asked if I would like to join up. I usually never turn down an opportunity to fish so we met up and fished a couple of different places where we could find shelter from the winds. We had fun exploring and at the one Dan caught this beautiful snook on his 6wt. An absolute awesome catch!
 Please check out this short video that Dan put together of our adventure called

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spring (Summer ! )

So much for spring. Temperatures are already up in the upper eighty's right now during the day. I've been pushing myself and clients to get out early before sunrise while it's a bit cooler. I know it's theoretically spring, birds are nesting, Swallow tail kites have returned and our rains haven't really started yet. I know it's now spring when bull sharks show up in a couple of back country places that I kayak fish. I found out the other day as a bull shark came up and ate a nice snook I had just released. Usually it's the gators that sometimes want to eat my fish but this time of year the sharks may show up for whatever reason. Another challenge to fishing some of these Everglades waters and knowing now that they are back, I'll avoid fishing these areas for the next month.
Every day is different but there have been a few days recently where we've been getting into the juvenile tarpon. They can be so finicky but we've managed to hookup with many, both on fly and spinning rods, and boat a few of these crazy fish.  

Dumber than a pelican (sorry pelicans)  to all fisherman who has kept and killed a snook during this past open snook season here on the southwest coast of Florida. With exception to some visitors and tourists who may not have known any better any fisherman living in Florida knows of the devastating fish kill we had a few years ago. I support most all things that the FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife) does but in this case it's a big fail. The FWC reopened the snook season from political pressure for fishing tourism reasons and The FWC also claimed that scientifically and through studies the snook fishery has rebounded enough to open the season again.
 I wasn't here 30 years or so ago when there was a much more abundant snook fishery, but I know it has declined over the years and the freeze we had a few years ago definitely devastated the snook population. With spending a tremendous amount of time fishing the area waters and talking almost daily with many area guides and fisherman the general consensus is the snook fishery has not rebounded to the point to justify opening a snook season, any fisherman that has fished the area waters over the last few years cannot deny it. Although there are some larger fish around there is no where near the population that once existed.

The keeping of these snook in the slot are or are about to become the breeding stock for the fishery. Whether through ignorance or somehow not knowing about the fishery, educate yourself and please in the future reconsider and think twice about keeping a snook. There are plenty of other fish species that are very good to eat, just ask a pelican.        

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!