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.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Everglades Sep'2015

The sky's on fire ! Some pretty awesome sunrises and sunsets recently.

A welcome relief from some of these very warm summer days here in The Everglades is fishing in the rain, of course as long as there's no lightning around.

Well we had the first false alarm hurricane "Erika" come through witch only brought rain. If anything it feels a little cooler out,at least in the mornings.

Welcome September, We should begin to start seeing a cooling trend.

I still have days available is September for those that would like to experience kayak fishing some of the awesome Everglades backcountry, give me a call. 

I think even the snook are looking forward to cooler temperatures

Speaking of cooler days here's a re-post of a great short video by good friend Dan Decibel. 

"Seeking Shelter" by Dan Decibel from DAN DECIBEL on Vimeo.

Green Herons, some of my fishing companions  

Friday, July 31, 2015

Everglades Heat

I have to admit I haven't gotten out to kayak and fish as much as I would have liked to recently. Many days were brutally hot here in The Everglades over the last few weeks along with a few days of rain and storms coming through early morning. When I've been able to get out launching early and calling it about noon has been the key for fishing. Midday the bite is mostly over anyway with the very warm temperatures.
When getting out over the last couple of weeks the fishing has been very good for the most part and I've enjoyed catching many snook, some crazy young tarpon and a lone redfish that was a surprise catch as I was in a backwater area of fresh water where they wouldn't normally be.

This really is a great time of year to get out and experience this part of the Everglades. It can be fairly warm but an early start assures a more comfortable time and the fishing can be very good. Look me up if staying or coming through the area and I would love to take you out to kayak fish and show you the area.

I have people beginning to book trips for the upcoming winter season so if your planning on getting out with me to kayak fish, sooner than later is better to reserve that day. For more info please click on "Fishing Trip Details" above. 

Excited Tom B from Naples with a nice size snook he caught  on a top-water plug

Surprise redfish

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Everglades Summer

Calm backwaters at sunrise 

Having fun with the crazy little tarpon in the calm waters at sunrise

Good friend Dan Decibel has been producing some awesome short films of the Everglades and his experiences. Check this one out!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Legendary Everglades

"FLORIDA EVERGLADES VOTED THE #1fishing destination in the country in this recent survey and I couldn't agree more. There are many great places to fish throughout Florida and the rest of the country but none are more unique, interesting, and challenging as well as rewarding than Everglades National Park.    

We've now been in our summer weather cycle for the last couple of weeks with rain storms, hot weather and some great fishing. This is an awesome time to be here in more or less the off season with few people around town other than locals and visiting fisherman. Following the weather is crucial this time of year when going out on the water but most recent storms have been mostly in the late afternoon and evening which has allowed to get out early around sunrise and fish till around noon or so when the temperatures start to soar.
If you plan on being in the area or just passing through and would like to experience some of the Everglades for yourself please look me up and I would be more than happy to show and fish some of this great wilderness area with you.     

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Advent of Everglades Summer

There are a few brush fires burning now in Big Cypress Preserve which with the smoke have made for some really spectacular sunrises over the last week. 

As my guiding season has now slowed down, it's given me time over the last week or so to check out some of the places I wouldn't normally visit with most customers either due to a hard access or long paddling distances. It's awesome to visit these places and fishing haunts and they most times never disappoint. 
Larger snook have mostly eluded me but I have caught a ton of smaller fish which are still fun but not the adrenaline rush of the big girls. I've also caught a few nice reds along with a few crazy juvenile tarpons.
Looks like we are about into our summer weather which means getting out very early and back around noon before the super temperatures and the afternoon storms come through. If I can get a couple of good weather days this coming week plans are to paddle and fish a couple of distant places around the bay.      

Closer to home, on the Barren River, a nice size redfish I sight fished, caught on a Zara Spook Jr. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Utopian Days

Although fishing can be really good anytime throughout the year here in this part of The Everglades, there is no doubt right now is my favorite time. Even tho we are moving quickly into our warmer season most days around now are much more tolerable weather-wise and the bugs are minimal, if any at all. I question the fisherman that spend their winters down here and then leave around this time for their northern homes when this is the ultimate time to be here not only for the great weather but also the great fishing! 

A recent day with Bob and Danielle from Montana enjoying the backcountry fishing and beautiful scenery with me!

It's not only about the great fishing to be had here but also seeing and enjoying this great wilderness of The Everglades.