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.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rookery bay Symposium

Today at the Rookery Bay's main headquarters on Collier Blvd (951) in Naples there is a symposium on kayak fishing at 4:30. I will be there to talk and answer questions about kayak fishing in general and kayak fishing in the Everglades should any one be interested. There's more info at Rookery Bays website:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chokoloskee Morning

I launched into Chokolskee Bay a little before sunrise and headed into the mangroves to find a little protection from the rain. I fished a couple different spots and was getting a lot of hits using my zara spook jr. I caught a few trout, jacks and ladyfish. One trout was a nice size around 22”. I moved around fishing wherever I could find moving water along shorelines and oyster bars. I was looking for a redfish and had one hit from one and then shortly after get a nice strike and hook up with a beautiful snook. It took awhile to get her to the boat because she was hooked under her chin and wouldn’t tire easy. I also was using ten pound test braid so I couldn’t crank down on my drag to much. What seemed like a long time I finally got her to the boat. When I measured her she was longer than my measuring stick so I estimate she was between 37 and 38 inches. What a nice fish! After taking a break to regroup I continued to look for a redfish until it was raining so hard I had to head back. By the time I got back to my launch my Ultimate was almost half full of water. As soon as I got back around 10 the rain stopped.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Blog

I have run into a quite a few people lately that are now reading and following my blog and I just wanted to mention that this blog is a work in progress. At the end of each post there is a comment section and welcome everyone to use it. Any comments about the posting or even any suggestions for improving the blog itself are welcome. The reports and my photography skills should improve with time but feel free to critique them. You can also contact me directly at

Thank's, Rich

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November 8

With short notice I did a guided trip today with three guys staying in Naples for a work related conference. Again the winds were to blow hard again and I chose to fish the East creek where there is a lot of protection. Fish were caught but it was tough for them. They were fisherman but first timers’ fishing in kayaks and along with the wind it was pretty challenging for them (and very comical at times). One of them, Mike, fell out of his boat trying to fetch his jig out of the trees. Numerous mangrove trees were caught today. Actually they learned fairly quickly and they all caught fish, ending up with a few snook and some Mayan cichlids.

While showing these guys how I fish I got lucky and caught two snook, one about 22” and a nicer one at 32”. They got to see what getting dragged into the mangroves by a snook was all about.

November 6 & 7

The windy conditions dictated that I head into the backcountry. Friday I headed to the East Creek up off 41 and paddled to the third lake which is around half way through towards Fackahatchee Bay. A fairly large lake where I have caught some nice fish a couple of times, mostly snook. Today I made my way around the lake and only found one area where there were some fish. Mostly snooklets with one fish that was around 20”. The mangrove tunnel to get there was real thick with spider webs so it’s probably been awhile since anybody has been back there.

Saturday with higher winds predicted again I picked out an area in Big Cypress to explore in the Rt 29 and 41 areas that looked interesting. I’m not sure but this could have been a canal created when limestone fill was needed when some area roads were built. Something I’ll have to look into it. On the way I hooked up with a tarpon near Rt 41and lost it after a couple of jumps. There were a lot of fish feeding but I wanted to get to the area I wanted to explore and moved on. When I got into this canal it was well overgrown and a lot of birds hunkered down to get out of the wind. There were hardwood trees along with palms covered in bromeliads and Spanish moss. It was tough to fish this area and from what I could see there were a lot of Gar fish. I followed the canal which circled around and joined a canal that bordered Rt 29. The last stretch along some sawgrass were different wild lilies and wildflowers. Defiantly a unique place and I’m going back soon again to explore more. It was now afternoon and the winds were howling as I made my way back to where I launched. I fished where I could picking up a couple of small snook along with a surprise catch, a lesser species of the common snook called the Fat Snook. The largest one I’ve ever caught around 22”. I don’t think they get much larger.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Auger Hole

Today turned out to be a bit of an adventure. My plan was to go to an area called The Rabbit Key Grass Flats and look for redfish and try and get some pictures of birds feeding on the low tide. To get there I had a two + mile paddle to an area called the Auger Hole, it has a short mangrove tunnel and is a back way to get to the gulf without using any of the passes. It borders the Rabbit Key Grass Flats about 2 miles east of Rabbit key. I knew there would be a real low tide today and got an early start around 5:30. I made good time to the auger hole going with the tide most of the way but the tide was way low by the time I arrived. I decided to portage my kayak over oyster beds through the tunnel thinking once I got through the water should still be high enough to continue. Well I was wrong, I misjudged the tides or the east winds we were having pushed the tide out quicker. I was able to paddle a short distance until running out of water. The water was still draining out through a small stream and I had no choice but to portage my boat again this time through the knee deep mud. I made it this far and may as well keep going and then again if I turned around there may be no water left back on the other side of the tunnel. After maybe a ¼ mile I had enough water to get back in the boat. I cleaned what mud I could get off me and the boat and I soon realized I would be stranded here for awhile. I was in an area maybe 1 square mile of open water surrounded by mud flats and mangroves as far as I could see. There was another stream of water draining at the far end but I was not going to portage the boat anymore today and had to wait until the tide changed and had enough water to paddle out.

The water was very muddy and the area was like an oasis. In the area were a few gators hanging around and in deeper spots there were some large tarpon and sharks feeding on the mullet which I watched throughout the morning. I tried fishing where I could and caught a couple of snook but as I fished I had to keep an eye out for the sharks who seemed to be everywhere. A few times I had some big fish swim under my boat and one shark that kept circling me, pretty bizarre. With this being like an oasis there were a lot of birds around feeding along the shorelines. I think I saw every heron and egret species we have in this area along with other shorebirds and spoonbills. I watched flocks of white pelicans fly over but don’t know where they landed. I wish my photography skills were better.

Around one or so there was enough water to start and head out of the area, I had to portage my boat a few feet in the tunnel. When I made it back to Chokoloskee bay I made a few casts and had my last excitement of the day when I hooked up with a large snook which made a nice run but threw the hook with a head shake. Probably for the best, I was pretty tired at this point.