Saturday, August 28, 2010

Goodland Morning Challenge 8/28

I had planned on launching at the national park launch today and fish north of the bay but with getting a few reports of the poorer fishing in the morning the last few days I decided to change my plans. There are also some strong tides right now with the full moon so if I had launched out of the park I would probably have to portage my kayak when coming back later in the morning when the tide would be at it's lowest.

I ended up going up to Goodland for a few hours that has a little easier access to kayak and fish the outgoing tide (and to get back). Getting a real early start I was on the water well before sunrise. Starting with top water plugs I checked out a couple of my usual spots and as expected fishing was slow. I did get a couple of nice hits but no hook ups and I spotted a couple of larger fish working the bait in a couple of spots only I couldn't get near them as they were back in a couple of small coves covered with mangroves. I decided to switch over to the long rod and had fun catching a couple of lady fish and actually a couple of mangrove snappers mixed in. The tide was moving out fast and very muddy draining out from the backcountry. By mid morning I worked my way around the bay and ended up in a large open area with the shore line made up of a few smaller coves (all mud bottom). I decided to stand and pole my way through this area. The water was very muddy and the depth was around 8" and no more than 10". There were mullet throughout the area. If I had been sitting in the kayak there would have been no way I would have seen them but mixed with the mullet here and there would be a redfish or two cruising the mud flats.

The situation was I had a light wind blowing at me and between me and where the redfish were was the mullet who would spook with any movement I made. I did manage to get a couple of good long casts off but not long or accurate enough so I decided to switch back to a spinning rod and put on a small jig with a gulp shrimp. Spooking a lot of fish working these shallow coves, even with hardly moving being as steathy as possible, I still stuck with it and poled and drifted in front of these coves three times. Towards the end of the third drift I finally saw two nice reds slowly cruising at a good distance away who were oblivious of me. I was able to make a perfect long cast in front of one of the fish and Bam!, he went for it! I probably spent over an hour working these coves and finally was rewarded with this nice fish! He measured at 31".

This was one of those days when you could question yourself as to why you even bothered to come out to fish and then to turn it around and  make it a very successful one, even with just the one nice fish. 


Monday, August 23, 2010

Everglades Fishing 8/20

I managed to make it out in the bay once during the week. The "swamp angels" have made their appearance and it was a hurry up and get launched day. The mosquitoes have been surprisingly scarce this summer but maybe now it's pay back time. Once on the water away from shore you will hardly ever see any. I paddled a little north across the bay and just planned to fish a small area. It was a slow incoming tide and there wasn't a lot of activity but I caught a few nice smaller snook using a top water plug and a small swimbait. When the tide got up covering the oyster bars I spotted a red cruising the bars and he immediatly attacked the small bait I casted near him. After a nice fight I took a couple pictures and released him. After, I fished a couple of different spots looking for a trout but couldn't locate any. It was a nice morning, nice sunrise and very calm but by mid morning the mercury was rising fast and I called it a day. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fishing Week 8/10 - 8/15

Reviewing the last week, I got on the water three times. Twice on Chokoloskee bay and the other time I launched out of the Ilses of Capri by Marco island. Simply put it's been very warm as in the mid nineties and humidity just as high. The fishing has been affected by the weather some but I still have been catching fish. I've been launching early between 6 and 6:30 and staying out as long as I can tolerate it which has been around noon. Fishing in these conditions you have to change your strategy slightly and work your lures and jigs slower as the fish tend to get lethargic as with very cold conditions. The funny thing is most of the fish I've caught have been very active and fight as if they are in cooler waters. (water temperatures are also getting into the nineties) I still make sure to try and make it a quick fight and revive and release the fish asap.
So this week I caught a few reds, some trout and a lot of snook mostly around 20" along with a couple of other species. I blew it one morning when I hooked up with a nice size snook on fly and one of my knots on my leader that I tie came loose.
Below is a picture of a nice red I caught around 24" that had the most brilliant colors. The photo doesn't really do it justice. The other two photos are of the spoonbills I see often in the bay. They always roost on the same small mangrove island in the summer and some mornings it looks like a cherry snowcone. As with the nature of the spoonbills they can be overly cautious and hard to approach and get close enough to get some good shots.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

American Shoals

I couldn't turn down the opportunity when my buddy Chris called to join him and Matt for a boat ride down to the keys for a couple of days of snorkeling for lobsters and maybe a little fishing. A change from the tannin colored waters to the aqua colored waters in the lower keys would be a nice change. With a real early start Friday it was a bit of a rough ride and we had to follow the coast down before heading across Florida Bay to Sugarloaf Key where we would stay the night. It was opening day of lobster season and there were boats with divers and snorkelers as far as the eye could see on the gulf side. We headed for the Atlantic where we spent most of our time and where Matt was a little familiar with the area and needless to say we had some lobsters for dinner. Saturday we spent a good part of the day out in an area called the American Shoals where there is a cool lighthouse and reefs to snorkel. I fished for a little while and played with some big barracudas but there was no time to get serious about it. Late afternoon we headed back straight to Naples and were back by around 8:00. A relatively good ride back and we didn't even have to dodge any storms. A quick but awesome trip.      

Chokoloskee 8/3&5

I ended up getting out in the bay twice during the week. Tuesday I got an early start and I headed to an area in the northern part of the bay. After around a mile and a half paddle getting to where I planned to fish another fisherman pulled in and started fishing where I was headed. I couldn't believe it after the long paddle but within fifteen minutes he raced off. As I got there I could see fish working the oyster bars and I caught my first redfish on my second cast so I was now happy again. I concentrated on the area for awhile, it was a little slow but I caught a few smaller snook and picked up another nice red. Around mid morning I started working my way back and along the way picked up a couple of nice trout around a couple of oyster bars in the current. With how hot the weather's been lately I was back in by noon.

Thursday morning I was able to get out for just for a couple of hours. I hit a couple of my usual spots and today it was very tough going. After an hour or so I picked up a nice red fish. I jumped around fishing a couple of spots and then see a large snook working near an oyster bar feeding on finger mullet by the mangroves. First cast he goes after my top water plug and misses. Next cast he chases the plug again and misses a couple of times. I figure one more cast and he's actually still there and again misses. I think I had a mentally challenged snook here. He was gone after that or maybe just lost interest. Crazy fish!

Monday, August 2, 2010

End Of July

Recapping last week, I got on the water a few times. The fishing wasn't spectacular but caught some fish kayaking at a couple of different places in the area. Tuesday, I joined Dave (Fishon) in Chokoloskee who came over from the central east coast to do some kayak fishing. Early on it looked pretty promising getting some nice hits on the topwater plugs but things faded pretty quick. Full moon tides today.As we worked our way north I decided to show Dave some areas that he was unfamilier with. With the outgoing tide we headed out and drifted towards the gulf and came back on the begining of the incoming ending up going in a large loop. There are a lot of routes similar to this and if you plan it right with the tides you can cover a lot of ground to fish without ever backtracking. We ended up with some trout and a few small gag groupers.

Thursday I met Mike up in Ilses of Capri (near Marco Island) and launched at the Capri fish house. A nice place to launch off of a small beach. It's been a couple of years since I kayaked there. Having spent a lot of time there in the past we set off straight into the maze of mangrove islands to check out a few of my old haunts. The tides were still crappy but we had fun and did a little exploring and covered a few miles before heading back. Again no big fish stories. I lost one bigger snook who headed right at me after hooking up and got off with getting slack in the line. Fishing off a large sandbar we had a couple of young Reddish egrets hang around us for awhile. I'll going to try and get back to this area soon again.

On Sunday I hit one of the small lakes off of Rt41 to see how the backcountry is doing. I arrived early before sunrise and as I launched my kayak the place was going off with feeding tarpon and snook but there was one small problem...gators. No matter where I went there was at least one gator around me. I thought if I bide my time I will get myself in a place where I was away from them so I could fish for the tarpon but it never happened. All I could do was just watch the show. I ended up catching a few smaller snook in the mangroves before calling it around mid morning. This is the first time I've been fairly close to see the gators on the shore doing their growling and bellowing calls. 

Looking forward to August fishing. Looks like a lot better conditions this first week and I hope to have some good reports here shortly.