Friday, April 30, 2010

Backcountry 4/29

With becoming a bit of a ritual I get together with a couple of friends from Naples and we try and get together and kayak fish at least once a week. Yesterday I showed them some more of the back country in the Fakahatchee area. It turned out to be a nice day, no bugs at all, a little overcast, and the gators kept their distance. Chris caught himself a nice snook and him and myself got spanked by a couple of other larger fish. A few other snook were caught and even though there were some tarpon around, nobody could hook up today.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday 4/25

A couple of days ago I met up with Chris up towards Marco Island. The tide conditions seemed ideal to go up one of the creeks (rivers) that feed into the Marco River. Early on everything looked promising seeing a couple of tarpon roll, no bugs and some schools of bait fish around. Chris got one nice hit and after that nothing. We moved on up the creek and ended up far into the backcountry and ended up catching a couple of snook. I had the scenario happen when skipping soft plastics under the mangroves it bounced over a branch and then have a snook grab it, take off and proceed to wrap itself up in the roots, at the same time I didn’t get my anchor out and I ended up in the mangroves. Not a real big fish but a crazy one. I’ve had this happen a couple times before and have learned to take the pressure off of the fish and give it some slack. The fish calms down and will usually stop running as in this case and he actually untangled himself and I got him into open water and caught him. Only a 24” fish but totally destroyed a 30” 30lb leader and frayed a couple feet of 15lb power pro. That was my big excitement for the day.

I was thinking about the tarpon and with these very windy conditions we’ve had I decided to fish Fakahatchee Strand today where I could find some protection from the weather. I can usually find resident tarpon up there which are mostly juvenile fish. The early morning fishing started out slow but there was an awesome sunrise and that almost made the trip worth it. I also went and checked out one of the rookeries to check out the Tri-colored herons which are now nesting. After moving on I fished some shorelines and finally hooked up with a nice fish, a 32” snook. It’s that time of year again and there were a few gators around but none came around as I fought and got the fish in the boat. Not long after I see a couple of tarpon roll, make my way towards them, cast and hook up with a smaller 30” fish who spits the hook after going airborne. At least now I knew there were some tarpon around. I continued fishing the shorelines and caught a few more snook, mostly smaller fish and one that was 26”. By late morning the wind was howling and I decided to paddle back and call it a day when I saw what I thought was a snook feeding on some baitfish. I cast and instantly hook up with a nice size tarpon probably over 40”. After a nice fight on my light gear and at least three jumps he throws the hook. Well, that’s the way it goes sometimes with the tarpon but I was still happy and it was a nice way to end the morning.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Choko 4/20

I wanted to get back out today for a couple of hours and kayak fish a different part of the bay where in the past I've caught some nice fish, especially snook and reds. The area is similar to a lot of the bay with oyster bars but has some nice deeper cuts around them. I got an early start to catch the incoming tide and fished till late morning after the tide had changed to an outgoing. The weather was awesome today but needless to say the fishing wasn't. I didn't have high expectations but thought I would have caught more fishing in this area. I did catch some nice size trout again, a few snappers, jacks and a gag grouper but again no snook or redfish. I saw a few sharks today (blacktips), turtles and a couple of Manatees. The conditions weren't the best today with kind of a slow tide and also I didn't see much for bait fish around but I think the area (Chokoloskee area) is still suffering somewhat from the effects from this past winter.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Chokoloskee 4/16

Fished Chokoloskee Bay and some waters leading out to the gulf today. With an outgoing tide we fished some oyster bars in the bay looking for redfish with Mike catching only the one. We worked our way fishing the bars and site fished some smaller bays but never saw another red or any snook. The trout bite is still on and we caught quite a few of them again. My excitement today was hooking up with a larger fish but soon after got cut off in the oysters. Towards the gulf in some deeper water I believe we came up on a school of Cobia swimming with some rays but nobody could hook up with one. It was a fun day but the fishing is still a little disappointing.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fakahatchee 4/09

For about a week now the day time temperatures have finally been back into the eighties and water temps are now up in the seventies. It's still a bit windy which has made it tough to kayak fish some more open areas but there are still plenty of protected places to go in the back country. With the warm weather comes the mosquitoes and noseeums and I decided before they get unbearable to go in and check out an area in Fakahatchee Strand to see how the fishing was. I invited Mike and Chris to go who had never seen this area before. Launching through the saw grass we made our way to some small lakes and rivers. I was surprised not to see many gators which was nice as they are starting their mating season and can be a little unpredictable during the next few months. I did see one manatee in one of the creeks. As we made our way through the area which ended up being only a couple of miles each way, we were in there for most of the day and fished a few different spots. The fish of the day were the snook and being modest with an estimate on how many we caught I would say around 40 fish. Most fish were between 12 and 18 inches, a couple less and a few over 20 but it was a lot of fun with the little guys who were very aggressive. Other than a jack that I caught the snook were pretty much the only species of fish we caught today. Although the area can be tough to access and tolerate with the bugs and heat when summer gets here, I'm sure I'll be going back in there soon again.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chokoloskee Bay 4/7

I fished the bay today with Chris T. working our way fishing mostly around oyster bars and some open deeper areas. There were trout in most of the places we fished and we caught a bunch of them. We each kept a couple for dinner. Chris also caught a nice snook and I caught a pretty nice red fish. The water temperature is now up into the seventies and the fishing should be improving especially for snook and tarpon. Air temperatures today got into the eighties and no bugs yet.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Fishing the Everglades with Tim Hansen

I had been corresponding with Tim Hansen, from the Des Moines area of Iowa who had been interested in checking out the Everglades. Tim had originally wanted to do a camping trip to do some kayak fishing and experience the Everglades first hand but for various reasons the camping trip couldn’t be arranged. Instead Tim decided to do some day trips and so he flew in and over the course of three days I showed him around the area.

On the first day we got an early start and due to some windy conditions I decided to bring Tim into some backcountry areas and we proceeded to explore and fish a couple different locations in Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve. At the first stop the fishing was a little slow, but Tim got his first close up look at gators, tarpon roll and some of the birds including tri-colored herons that are starting to nest. Late morning we loaded up and headed to the next location a few miles up the road and we launched through the saw grass to a series of lakes. We fished a large area and Tim caught himself his first couple of snook. We fished hard all day with few rewards but it was still a great day and Tim now had a good idea about the backcountry in the Everglades.

Day 2 with Tim

On day two the conditions were better and we going out to the gulf. Launching early in Chokoloskee and getting into one of the rivers we were able to ride the tide out and fish as we went. First cast of the day on a top water plug Tim caught a nice size trout. We proceeded to fish a few different locations as we basically drifted out towards the gulf. I was hoping to see a few Tarpon but to no avail. We ended up out at Demi John Key, a barrier island and spent a lot of time there fishing the area. There are opportunities to fish the area in different situations, including flats, mangrove shorelines and deeper water and we did them all. Again no tarpon but there were a couple of large breeder snook feeding on baitfish who ignored us. A few different species of fish were caught today and after another great time we made it back to Choko in the late afternoon.

Day 3 with Tim

On day three we headed up to the Goodland area to fish and we met up with a couple of my fishing buddies from Naples. There are some beautiful backwater areas to fish in Goodland and even though it’s near more urban areas fishing can be very good. Tim got to see how urban it is when we and every living thing around were interrupted a few times by airboat and Jet Ski tours. (Being in the Ten Thousand Island Wildlife Refuge which is managed by The Rookery Bay Research Reserve it’s a tragedy that this is being allowed but this a story for another day). We traveled over a large area today and other than the interruptions we caught some nice fish, including a couple of reds. I think Tim got a good taste of what the Everglades area of Florida is like even with just touching the surface and I’m sure he’s thinking about his next trip back to the area.