Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Chokoloskee Bay

After a day off from fishing every day straight for over a week I was again ready to go back out and check out the bay to see if any thing was going on. With my usual early start I was fishing by 6:30. Out on the oyster bars, in my first few casts I caught one nice red and had a couple of nice hits using topwater plugs, nice! I then catch a decent size snook when along comes this old timer kayaker fisherman who proceeds to come by me and starts talking telling me fish stories, his life story,bla,bla,bla. Trying not to be rude I kind of ignored him until he moved on. Getting back to fishing I start catching some jacks and another snook when this same guy is yelling from a good distance if I had a camera to take a picture of a fish he had just caught. I couldn't help but to totaly ignore him this time, but a passing boat saw him with the fish and proceeds to go over and start fishing by him. Whats up with this!? A short time passes I'm hooked up again with a snook and before I know it I have a shark after my fish. The shark went ballistic going after my fish... After regaining my composure guess who motors over to me to ask me what I caught and proceeds to anchor by me and start fishing. What the hell! And this day started out so great. I've had this happen in the past but here it's not real common to even see other people fishing this area. Anyway I'll have to remind myself and resist the urge to fish this area during the weekends. Time to paddle a little further to get to some of my more isolated spots. Soon the season will be here and I'll be back at doing my camping and fishing trips in the more remote areas of the park, I can't wait!

Ended up today with a few nice fish. A red, a few snook, countless jacks and even a couple of trout.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Matlacha/Pine Island

I took a few days and drove up to Matlacha and Pine Island to Kayak fish and explore, other than Everglades National Park it’s on the top of the list for places I love to fish. I know the Matlacha area somewhat and have fished there in a couple of tournaments and have done quite well. The Bridgewater Inn is where I stayed, an old stilt fish house converted to the motel. It’s literally right on the water surrounded by docks so you can launch the kayak right from there and be in the backwaters fishing in less than 5 minutes. The managers, Matt and Janet were very accommodating and set me up with a nice room. I would recommend to anyone that’s going to be staying in this area to check this place out.

The fishing in this area on the other hand was a little slow. I did manage a nice snook and a couple of redfish but it was tough going. Site fishing was hard as there seemed to always be a breeze obscuring seeing into the water, spooking a lot of fish running over top of them. Most of the fish I caught were blind casted using topwater plugs early and late and weedless jigs with softplastics.

On my third day I decided to go over and Kayak fish and do a little exploring around Pine Island. I know that the flats fishing can be phenomenal in this area but I had never fished Pine Island before. I found a place on the western shore the previous day near the Pineland Marina to launch and got a real early start. Heading south it was pretty much mangrove shorelines and miles of grass flats away from shore. Being before sunrise I decided to cast topwaters along the mangroves and literally on my first cast catching me off guard I’m hooked up to a real big fish that I believe was a snook. With the fish running I get cut off trying to turn it. Not sure if there was a nick in my leader or the fishes gill plate cut me off. What a way to begin the day, disappointed and exited at the same time about the prospects. After regrouping I continued on down the shoreline as the sun was rising and hook up again this time with a juvenile tarpon, getting him to the boat where he throws the hook. There were tarpon all around rolling and I managed to hook up two more times before they developed lock jaw. One tarpon was larger probably around 50lbs.

Later in the morning I drifted out on the grass flats a couple of miles down the shoreline to see if maybe site fishing was a possibility and have the wind blow me back towards the launch site. It turned out I had the same situation as Matlacha, the slight breeze made it difficult to see, I saw some larger sharks and a loggerhead turtle swim nearby which was cool. I did manage a couple of trout and ladyfish, in the process spooking a few more reds. By mid afternoon it was super hot out there and the tide was super low so it was time to head in. I had a good eight hours out there anyway.

The next morning I was back before the sunrise after deciding to fish before the drive back to Chokoloskee. I was exhausted but how could I pass this up. I threw topwaters on the flats and ended up catching a couple more trout, a snapper and two real nice redfish! Saw a couple more tarpon roll but they weren't interested in my lures. It was a nice way to end the trip. By ten I was loaded up and headed home. The battery died in my camera so no pics of these fish. I’m so looking forward to when I can get back to Matlacha and Pine Island to fish again.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gulf Float Trip

Went out with a Mike, Chris, and Brian today. We did a float trip out to the gulf to maybe hook up with a tarpon. The tide took us out and brought us back with hardly any paddling and we probably covered 7 or 8 miles. We did a lot of fishing but the tarpon did not want to cooperate today. Fish caught were a couple of snook, snappers, a gag grouper and some ladyfish. It was a good time today even with it being real warm out and the fishing not being the greatest.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Demijohn Key

Today I decided to drift fish with the outgoing tide out Chokoloskee Pass and ending up around an area near Demijohn Key, a barrier island about a four mile paddle from Choko. On the way I went by a few tarpon rolling but no takers. Where I ended up they were rolling over a large area, some juveniles,and some a lot larger upwards to maybe around 80lbs. I had brought a heavier setup but not heavy enough for some of these fish and I only had 40lb leader. I tryed to concentrate on the smaller fish but somehow twice hooking up with bigger fish. One fish I got three jumps out of when he broke off, the other, one jump. Pretty exciting even with loosing a couple of Mirro-lure plugs.

After the tide changed I decided to concentrate working along shorelines for reds and snook and start my way back. I was basically sight fishing making blind casts as I drifted, ending up with catching one red blind casting and another sight fished. After making a long cast I spot two reds together foraging about 10 feet away from my kayak but somehow was able to get my lure back and drag it by them before they spooked. They both attacked it and fought over it. Pretty cool! As I had the one hooked up the other stayed with it for almost the whole fight. Both reds today were caught with Rapala Twitchin'raps and both were around 27".

Noseeums were bad early and later it was very hot out there. A slight breeze helped . I made it back around 2.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Choko Maze

I was thinking of taking a trip today and go up to Matlacha to fish but because of the possible weather coming through instead decided to fish here in Chokoloskee. After the rains stopped here around 7:30 I launched and headed out to ride the tide towards the gulf through the maze of islands between here and the gulf and ride it back in when it changed. I'd have some protection should any storm come by. Fishing was slow and didn't see much for baitfish around, the water was real muddy. I didn't find any fish until finally getting back to the bay and in some current I caught around a 20" red on a MF jighead with a chartreuse DOA shadtail. After loosing another red a little larger I caught one nice 26" snook. I came back in around 2.

Monday, August 17, 2009

8/17 Choko

Went out and kayak fished early to catch the last of a slow outgoing tide. I didn't expect much but ended up with around a half dozen snook up to around 24". Saw some big fish but only had a couple of hit and misses by them. I did catch the smallest redfish that I have ever caught on a zara spook jr. Came back in around 10:30 after the tide changed and the wind picked up. It was a beautiful morning out there and no bugs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sandfly Pass Area

I launched from the ENP kayak launch early. It's over a mile paddle to get across to an area I like to fish near Sandfly Pass. Since there aren't many boaters around this time of year it was a real nice paddle before sunrise. I made it across about fifteen minutes before sunup. Other than no boats around there also were no bugs which was nice for a change because they have been pretty damn bad this summer. My plan was to fish the early outgoing tide around some oyster bars with some deep cuts around them. Fishing with topwaters it was slow for the first hour or so until I picked up my first decent snook. Schools of mullet and other bait fish were getting slammed by feeding fish but they didn't seem to want my zara spook until after almost another hour I finally connect with a nice red. He hit and missed a couple of times until finally hooking up. After a nice fight I had a 9lb, 29" fish. After, I fished with a Twitchin'rap and ended up with a couple more snook still averaging around 24". I headed back around 10:30 before the tide got to low which could be a problem around the launch which is all mud.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lopez Area

I wanted to go and paddle over towards the Lopez to check out a spot that the Spoonbills usually roost during the day a lot of times after leaving the bay. Of course, on the way I fished the oyster bars catching one decent red and a nice snook early morning on a zara spook jr. I had one fish on that was very big and cut me off taking my lucky zara spook with it, shortly after hooking up cutting off my 40lb leader either on an oyster or the gill plate should it have been a big snook. I never got a good look at it being it was still pretty dark out. These big fish are giving me a real hard time lately. I moved on riding the tide and found the birds, took some pics and made my way back against the tide. Very hot again and the mosquitoes were brutal.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Choko 8/9-8/10

Fished Chokoloskee bay for the past two days. The bite for the most part has been good during the early morning hours during the outgoing tide while the air and water temps are a little cooler. There are a lot of fish around including reds and snook. Some snook are larger but mostly fish from 20 to 27 are being caught. A bazaar thing today was watching a small group of sharks feeding together in some shallows which at first I thought were dolphins. I didn't get to close to try and identify them.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bahia Honda

I had made reservations a few months ago to camp at Bahia Honda State Park for this week down in the keys. I wanted to do some exploring for future bookings. It was a solo trip. I do between 10 and 15 kayak fishing camping trips here in ENP each winter and want to expand my range of trips to offer. Like a lot of the keys this area offers various types of terrain to fish and explore, grass flats, reefs and deep water are within a reasonable paddle, that is, when the weather cooperates. The park is very nice with good amenities and easy boat launch area. It is a snorkeler’s paradise. I guess I ‘m somewhat spoiled with camping most all the time in the national park and camping here was what I would call “Urban” camping. A characteristic of the keys is the wind blows often as it did on this trip and it kept me away from the ocean side of the island. I spent most of my time exploring the gulf (Florida Bay) side which was awesome for kayaking. I found myself kayaking a couple of miles from any place to launch which kept me fairly isolated from the general public. I basically stayed in an area that had a mangrove shoreline with a beautiful submerged beach surrounded by grass flats. In the crystal clear water there were constantly loggerhead turtles swimming around me. As for fishing I caught my share of barracuda and other reef fish but bonefish and permit were nowhere to be found, at least when I was there. Probably the full moon and the tide when I was fishing had something to do with it also the very warm temperatures. I had a couple of nice hookups of juvenile tarpon on fly in some deeper water near the marina early in the morning. These were resident tarpon and I’m sure people fish for them constantly there. I threw everything in my arsenal at them with spinning gear and was only successful when I switched over to the fly rod.
Bahia State Park is a beautiful place and defiantly has potential. I’m not so sure about camping there again but they do offer cabins which I’m going to look into. As time permits I’m going to go back and explore more when we start to get into our cooler months.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Near Goodland

Went and checked out an area around Goodland early this morning to look for some juvinile Tarpon. Mike joined me for the paddle. It was a quiet morning with no other boats around and a crazy tide with hardly any tide movement, the water stained. We located a lot of fish but could not get them to eat again, very frustrating but thats tarpon fishing. A couple of snook were caught and I got spanked by a bigger fish that caught me off guard and broke me off in the mangroves. Mike caught a nice 20" trout which are not usually there this time of year. Very hot again probably close to 100 degrees. We were back where we launched around 11.