Friday, September 24, 2010

Everglades to Pine Island

For the last couple of weeks there have been predominant winds blowing from the east- northeast. It’s calm early but by mid to late morning the winds pick up blowing around 15 mph plus. I ventured out across Chokoloskee bay a couple of times and also the Goodland area but the water has stayed churned up (muddy) and it’s made fishing somewhat tough. I did manage to catch a few fish including snook, trout and mangrove snappers.

With the way the weather has been with the winds I decided on going back into some other areas to do a little exploring where there is more protection from them. I ventured into a couple of different areas in Factahatchee Strand and also Big Cypress. I love going into these areas but it’s been a few months since paddling in there. It can be a little tough with the vegetation growing in during the summer months, the insects and of course the local wildlife which can make it a little intimidating especially when going solo and setting off before sunrise. The next photograph shows how overgrown it’s become on one of the trails I take into Factahatchee. A couple of these areas are where I love to fish for snook and tarpon especially during the winter months where the fish will migrate to for the warmer waters. On these outings I did also catch a few snook but mostly small fish and twice I got into a couple of schools of tarpon, one school of juvenile fish around five to ten pounders and one school of younger fish. I never got any of the fish in the boat but had a few hookups and that was fun and exciting enough. I’m looking forward to spending more time back in these areas again as the cooler months come.

This week I finally made it up to kayak and fish Pine Island, Florida for one day. It’s another place in Florida I like to visit a couple of times a year along with Matlacha which is by Pine Island. It’s still kind of rural and has a great fishery. It’s very different from the Everglades in one way that there are miles of grass flats to fish which the Western Everglades lack and you approach it a bit different when fishing. Target species are pretty much the same (Snook,Trout and Reds) but their habits are a little different. I spent most of my time standing and site fished from the kayak drifting with the wind which was blowing pretty good there also. As I drifted I caught some nicer trout casting the pot holes as I looked for redfish. With things starting out slow I starting spotting some reds as the tide changed to incoming. The water there is crystal clear compared to what I am used too but with the water being a little choppy from the wind my view was a little obstructed and I would see the fish (1 or 2 at a time) after they already saw me. I would have never seen the fish had I been sitting in the boat. Some of the fish were very large and I would have to say some of them were around 40” (aka Bull Reds !). Finally, I got a break and surprised when I spotted a large fish tailing in about three feet of water. I could tell it was a large fish by the size of his tail and could see he was in a school with other fish. I made my way towards them and on my second or third cast with a weedless setup and DOA Cal I hooked up with a fish and saw as I fought it the rest of the school stayed with him, A dozen or so of big fish. Very exciting! After a good fight on my light tackle I was very happy to catch this nice red who was a little over 30”, not one of the bigger fish in the school but still a nice catch. I fished a little more but the winds were picking up more and the tide was just about in so I called it a day plus I had a fairly long paddle back to where I launched. I look forward to getting back there again in the near future!

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