Thursday, December 31, 2009

F U River

The Everglade City area this holiday week has been overrun with tourists. Not that it's a bad thing but after months of the sleepy town atmosphere coming into the tourist season takes a little time to get used to again, at least for me. Other than the regular tourists come the kayakers from all over the world to paddle, fish and camp in the park which is kind of cool because I get to meet many of them and enjoy discussing or helping them with information about the area as well as learning from them about kayaking and fishing in other parts of the country and world.
After the holidays things will slow down a little again but until then getting out without running into other kayakers, canoeists and boaters could be difficult especially with launching around town. Knowing the area kayak fishing the Everglades area for awhile now I can always find places to go and most likely never see another sole, so today I decided to do a little exploring and fishing and headed to The River. Where I launched goes right into a saw grass marsh which doesn't look very inviting but eventually goes into a series of shallow lakes connected by tunnels and creeks. The water in the area was draining with an outgoing tidal flow today but I lucked out and only had to portage my boat once for about 30ft. Later in the winter this area may be inaccessible during our dry season. A lot of the water was only 4 or 5 inches deep as you can see in the first and second picture. I expected to see a lot more wildlife but maybe since it got fairly warm out I didn't see much. I was thinking gators or a python in the saw grass areas but didn't run across any. As for the fishing, I brought a fly rod and some light spinning gear and fished where and when I could. I ended up breaking my 8wt on a snag somehow but before that I was having fun catching baby snook some as tiny as 3"and the biggest as the one in the picture. It was tough fishing a couple of the creeks but I hooked up a couple of times with some small tarpon. There were some bigger snook in there also but couldn't coax them to eat.
It turned out to be a nice day! I paddled just over 11 miles and never did see anyone else until I got back to the launch around 4:30.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

E Creek Cool Down

It was around 40 or so degrees this morning. I planned on going to the E Creek today to see if anything was biting but hadn't really planned on the cold weather. The bay had a super low tide early so that was out. I knew the water would be up in the creek so I stuck to my plans. I brought my fly rod today and after launching I fished anywhere I could in the lee sides of the mangroves to stay out of the wind. The fishing was pretty slow but it gave me a chance to play around practicing a new roll cast I am learning. I had one snook hookup and lost it. Mid morning with the sun up it turned into a really nice day, even if it was still in the sixties. The place came alive with all kinds of birds and a couple of gators came out to warm up. Late morning I had fun trying to catch some baby snook that starting feeding along a couple of shorelines.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Reminiscing 2009

Going through some of my photos today from the past year it brought back the memories of all the good times had while on the water kayak fishing and exploring in the Everglades. Whether by myself, with friends or with clients I can't think of ever having a bad day. Catching and seeing people catch some nice fish is the greatest but also as most would agree just being out in the wilderness of the Everglades has been real rewarding in itself.

Speaking of fish, Looking through my photos of fish I caught this year I think my greatest achievement was catching a few nice larger snook. This area is known for the snook fishing and fishing out of a kayak for snook and actually getting a bigger one in the kayak can be pretty challenging. Sometimes luck plays a big part. Using light to medium gear which most fisherman use around here I would say the odds are less than 50% in getting the fish into the boat. I've seen it happen time and time again to a lot of people, myself included getting "spanked" by a big snook. Anyways, here's a few pictures of snook I caught over the last year and "Happy New Year!"

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chokoloskee 12/27

I wanted to get out and see how fishing conditions were in the bay this morning. I launched before sunrise and made my way to some oyster bars I like to kayak fish. The tide was super low but would be incoming all morning. Throwing a topwater plug, a zara spook jr, I got a few hit and misses before hooking up with a nice trout. The trout measured just under 24", a real nice size for around here. Fishing was a little slow and I fished this area for a while longer before moving on to another area. I switched to a Rapala Twitchin'rap and picked up a small red and a couple more trout, again nice sizes around 20". Other than a couple of small jacks and ladyfish that would be about it for the morning. The winds picked up and the tide was just about in so I called it around 11 and headed back to my place. I didn't spot any snook or larger reds today. There were a lot of sharks around.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Turkey Key Dec 24

Today I did a trip and got us shuttled down to kayak fish around Turkey Key. Jared from Virginia was treating his father-in-law to do some everglades kayak fishing for Christmas. It was a nice day even with the weather not cooperating. The winds kicked our buts most of the day but the area we were in has a lot of places to hide along with a lot of good fishing spots. Jared was fly fishing and Sid was spin fishing. First thing we headed into one of the creeks where Jared got a couple of hookups with juvenile tarpon before we had to vacate the area due to the falling tide. The water was churned up and muddy but we did site fish some reds. Sid was the only one who boated one. Most of the fish had lock jaw. After, we fished some deeper areas and had a blast catching a ton of trout; speckled trout, silver trout, whiting, a baby red, one blue fish and a flounder. Jared lost a monster snook while site fishing on the flats. It was a great time today even with getting a little windburned.

Monday, December 21, 2009

50 Degrees

It was our coldest morning so far this year. Around 50 degrees, overcast and windy. Normally I would have passed on going out to kayak fish but had a request to take a person out who was traveling through and was dying to do some fishing and couldn't find anybody to take him out. Being here for just the one day I decided to take Allen who is from The Netherlands out for a few hours of kayak fly fishing. Being an experienced fly caster and with a couple of lessons of some techniques for fishing around here Allen was right at it. There was a very strong outgoing tide along with the wind it was tough going. Being from The Netherlands Allen was apparently somewhat accustomed to these conditions. Using a 6wt fishing mangroves and a couple of open areas Allen succeeded in catching himself some nice fish. Athough nothing caught was of great size or in no great numbers he caught a few sea trout, jacks, a lady fish and a gag grouper which with using his light gear the 6wt he had a blast. I was happy for him but even more happy to get off the water after around 7 hours in these crappy conditions.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Addison Bay

I fished with Chris this morning in an area near Addison bay which is north of Goodland. It cooled down over night and was around sixty degrees out. We fished small coves and bays to stay out of the wind as best we could. Fishing in mostly shallow water in an outgoing tide we caught mostly jacks and ladyfish. Chris caught a couple of snook. I caught a small jewfish. Late morning the winds picked up which was ok because it helped blow us back the mile or so back to where we launched. It was a nice morning and we finished the day at The Fish House Restuarant on the Ilse of Capri for lunch.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chokoloskee Pass Area

Fished for a few hours back at a new area I've been exploring over towards Chokoloskee Pass. It appeared that the conditions would be great for catching today only to have a front come through during the night. There was a super low tide as I site fished bays that were somewhat sheltered from the constant breeze. It was tough going but managed to catch a few snook out on a mud flat that were feeding on small bait fish. I found a another spot for catching trout where I caught 6 or 7. This area will be a good place to bring people for winter fishing having a couple of places that hold trout and it's not a long paddle to get there.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Turner, Hurdles & Choko

Sunday I had a party of three. Trent and Jerry from the Arcadia area who fished with me the previous Friday wanted to do another trip and Francesco visiting from Italy wanted to try Kayak Fishing. We fished the mouth of the Turner River up into Hurdles Creek. Some Snook and Trout were caught but it was more of a day of getting broke off or loosing bigger fish for the various reasons. It was unseasonably warm but everyone had a nice and enjoyable day.

Monday, another warm day. I fished with Bob who was traveling through from Oregon. His goal was to catch a snook and maybe a Tarpon. I brought him to a couple of spots to fish in Chokoloskee Bay towards Indian Key Pass where Bob was rewarded with catching s few nice fish. He could now cross snook off his bucket list of fish to catch. We put in a long day with summer like conditions. As with the nature of Tarpon especially this time of year they were no where to be found.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Alligator Bay

I had a group today of four people to kayak fish. We were shuttled over 20 miles down to a backwater area on the Wilderness Waterway called Alligator Bay which leads into Plate Creek. We spent the day fishing this bay for mainly snook. Being in this area is a good reminder of the remoteness and how wild Everglades National Park is. Working the shorelines there were some nice snook caught and two people were spanked by a couple of very large fish. Seeing people unexpectedly hooking up with a very large snook and trying to deal with it fishing out of a kayak can be quite a show and humorous to watch. Other than the snook a couple of reds were also caught along with some young trout. All the species were very golden in color from the tannin waters. A couple of tarpon were spotted rolling but nobody attempted to fish for them. I look foward to getting back and fish this area again soon.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I went and did a couple hours of kayak fishing with Mike up near Marco Island this morning. I wanted to see how fishing conditions were in that area since it's been a little tough fishing in the bay in Chokoloskee. Well, the fishing was just as tough. I picked up one small red maybe just barely legal size and a few other fish not really worth mentioning.

Mike fished out of a different boat today and realized it was not as stable when standing as his Redfish.

We called it quits late morning.

Monday, December 7, 2009

December 7,09

After the crappy weather over the weekend the forecast for today was pretty decent. Back to sunny skies and into the eighties. With the outgoing tide in the bay I went out early and kayak fished and did some exploring. The first two fish caught were a couple of small barracuda's. I very seldom catch them in the bay. I fished a couple of my spots riding the tide out and ended up fishing an area off of Chokoloskee Pass. I found a new trout spot and caught a couple of dozen of them, a couple were about 20" and a couple were silver trout. Afterwards I poled and sight fished a large open area along shorelines looking for a red but had no luck in finding one. Although I've fished this area in the past I never really had much success but seeing it today on a real low tide there are a few spots that look real promising and I'll be back to explore it more. A few other fish caught today were a couple of small gag groupers, some ladyfish and one jack. I didn't see one red or snook.

On my way back I stopped and took a few pictures of the white pelicans that spend the winter here in the bay.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rain Day

The forecast called for winds and rain showers today so I decided to kayak fish in the back country in a couple of areas that are somewhat protected from the weather. Flying in for the weekend from Washington DC I fished with Keith who is with "Trout Unlimited" and Tim who is with "The National Wildlife Foundation". With a cold front that had just come through the fishing would be unpredictable.

Starting early we worked shorelines throwing fly's for snook and cichlids and Keith picked up his first snook on Fly. The fish were not very cooperative though. There were some feeding in the mangroves on small baits but we couldn't coax them out with throwing a variety of different flys. I was satisfied just watching Keith work his version of a roll cast into the mangroves that I hadn't seen before. A technique I will have to practice.

As we moved along to go into an intersecting creek the rain started. There were juvenile tarpon rolling throughout but they were real fussy. Keith got a couple of hits and I did also hooking up once only to have the fish throw the hook. The fish were not very aggressive and it was like they were playing with us. This continued for awhile as the rain picked up until it was a torrential downpour with lightning and thunder. After taking what shelter we could find till the rain slowed up we worked our way back and ended the day around 2.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Big Cypress National Preserve

Today I went out in a portion of Big Cypress near Rt29 and did a little kayak fishing. With winds picking up today with another cold front expected it was a good choice. I managed to catch two snook and one cichlid. I had a couple of larger snook swim near the surface past me who just ignored me, but it was cool to see. I also ran across a couple of small schools of juvenile tarpon feeding, but couldn't’ entice any of them to eat any of my offerings. They were real black in color and have probably been back there for awhile. I should have brought the fly rod. I spent a good amount of time today experimenting with taking photos of wildlife.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cold Front

Since my last posting on the arrival of colder weather we’ve had a real cold front come through, Upper forties to fifty at night to seventies during the day with N/NE winds. Water temperatures have dropped considerably and I heard that in the bay they were down into the sixties.

Fishing the last couple of days around the bay and in the maze the changes were apparent. With the very low tides and fishing real early as I like to do it’s was tougher finding fish. I’ve managed a few snook but it wasn’t easy finding them (I’ve heard a couple of reports of some nice catches being made already up in the backcountry). Being the holiday weekend also hasn’t helped with more fishing boats out and found them in a few of my usual haunts. The only other fish caught worth mentioning were some nice size trout.

Today I fished Rich Watson from Seattle, WA, An avid sea kayaker who was interested in and wanted to give kayak fishing a try. Although he didn’t catch much he was a good student and did well in learning some of the techniques to fish around this area. If the conditions were better I'm sure he would have caught more fish.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Winter on it's way

As we move towards our winter here in the Everglades there are the evident signs. Temperatures are still up in the eighties mid day but mornings are a little cooler and the water temperatures have dropped into the seventies from the much warmer eighties to upper ninety degree temperatures of summer. Being bothered by mosquitoes and no-seeums is now minimal. The sounds and sights are changing also with the arrival of all the different migratory birds that spend the winter months here.

With the cooler temperatures the fish here will begin their winter habits. Snook are known to migrate into the backcountry to warmer waters. A great way I love to spend the worst of days in winter here when it’s colder and the predominate NE winds are blowing is kayak fishing the shallow backwater bays and creeks for snook. Along with saying that I have caught some real nice snook on the coldest of days around the outer barrier islands while fishing for redfish and sea trout. It’s a given that in the winter fishery here that trout fishing is at its best and they can be caught in great numbers along the outer coastal areas. Redfish on the other hand are not as abundant but I’ve had good success in finding and catching them in some of the outside bays and bites (coves) and still also in the backcountry. Tarpon fishing will be sporadic and mostly by chance as most of the larger fish will have migrated farther south. Juveniles on the other hand will hold up in some of the deeper creeks and small rivers that I fish and look forward to going out and targeting them later in the winter.

Over the last few days I’ve gone out I fished in and around Chokoloskee bay working my way through some of the maze of mangrove islands. I’ve been spending a lot of time sight fishing and exploring some very shallow areas poling my way around in my Native Ultimate. It takes a lot of time and patience but its real exciting catching fish in this manner. I ended up catching a few reds this way and lost a very large red due to line failure which apparently there was a nick in the braided line, that was more disappointing than exiting but it happens. especially fishing around oysters. Fishing other areas I caught some snook but they are not as abundant as they were a week ago and also early on topwaters fishing in the current with an outgoing tide I have caught a few trout, all of them nice size between 18 and 20 inches.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

November 18

Caught one nice snook today. I started the morning in the bay fishing oyster bars with an outgoing tide. The fishing was slow in the bay so I decided to ride the tide and fish my way towards the gulf. I ended up east of Rabbit Key Pass towards the Lopez River when the tide changed and that’s where I caught a few snook. The largest at 30”. Other fish caught were a couple of trout and jacks. Had a real low tide today, reminding me of the super low winter tides we'll be having soon.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Goodland 11/13

I went and fished with buddy Mike L who went and got himself a real job and this was about his last opportunity to get out and kayak fish for awhile. We met in Goodland and I showed him some new areas for future reference to kayak fish. We were on the water for a good 7 or 8 hours. We caught a few decent snook and some good size jacks which made for a lot of fun. The winds picked up later in the day and made it tough at times to fish but all in all it was a nice day out there.

Goodland has some real nice areas to kayak fish and explore. I fish mostly areas in and around Everglades National Park and I am probably spoiled but it’s a shame that in the Goodland backcountry which is controlled by Rookery Bay Estuary Reserve that they allow airboats and jet skis to run around unregulated. Hopefully in the near future they will address this issue and come up with a solution.