Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter Fishing in the Everglades & a little Hiking in Fakahatchee

There is no reason to complain about the weather (or the fishing here in the Everglades) with what I've seen and heard about with the weather they are having up in the states north of here. We still have been getting cold fronts come through every few days and a few mornings it was in the 30's. The nice thing is by kayaking into the back country by mid morning you can strip off some of the layers of clothes because it's mostly well protected from the winds and the sun warms things up fairly quickly. It's been a little more challenging finding fish but as I look back on the couple of times I got out to kayak fish this last week some pretty nice fish were caught. In one area near Everglades City we caught some trout, reds and snook. The trout were all a decent size averaging from 16 to 20 inches and even though most redfish are running smaller there are some bigger fish around as I experienced loosing a much larger fish by the boat due to my error. I didn't notice a bent hook from a snag on a log I just had previously. Today fishing another area up in the back country the fish of the day were the snook. We caught a bunch of them up to around 30". There were some smaller tarpon rolling in the area but they were not interested in our offerings.


Fakahatchee Hiking

I got out and did some hiking on one of the many old trails in Fakahatchee Strand this last week. The trails were originally where there were railway trams to remove the cypress logs when it was logged back in the 1940's. Many of the trails are somewhat dry now with the low water table in the winter and not having much rain. Once back a ways onto the trail I can only think how prehistoric it looks and feels. In one area as I passed through were a few Barred Owls hooting to each other and when trying to hopefully get a decent photo of maybe one of them I turned around and this guy (above) was sitting right in front of me. I got one shot before he flew off. On this trail mixed with the cypress, palms and other hardwood trees I came across a few orange and grapefruit trees full of ripe fruit. I tryed the oranges from two different trees and on the one the fruit was nice and sweet and the other it was pretty bad and sour. I plan on hiking a few of the other trails soon.   

Friday, January 21, 2011

Everglades Exploring and Kayak Fishing, January 21, 2011

If I'm not kayaking and fishing there is a good chance you'll find me hiking and exploring different areas in Fakahatchee Strand and Big Cypress National Preserve. These areas are mostly the Cypress swamps and saw grass prarie lands of the Everglades. I will write more about these areas in the future. You can find more onfo on these areas at Fakahatchee and Big Cypress .

Broad Wing Hawk

Fakahatchee White Tail

I managed to get out and kayak fish twice during the week. One day in some backwaters and with fishing a little slow we still caught a few snook. I missed hooking up with a nice size tarpon right at the boat as it came up and missed my plug as I was pulling it up out of the water.
 I met up with John Morran up at Isle's of Capri to do some kayak fishing on the other day. John was interested in learning how to fish the area in kayaks. We had fun in one spot for a few hours playing with the trout. The area seemed to be full of speckled and silver trout and ladyfish. After a few hours of fishing there, we were then overrun by a pod of dophins who came in to feed and proceed to ruin the fishing for us. It was fun while it lasted and it was still cool to see these dolphins at work! We moved on after and explored a couple of other areas before calling it a day.

It's just a matter of time, maybe a month or two before the rookeries may be in full swing. The pelicans and area egrets and herons appear to be changing into their mating plummage and colors.

 John with a nice Silver Trout

Mom Flipper with baby

Little Blue Heron

Tri-Colored Heron

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Winter Wonders in the Everglades

This past week turned out to be a bit hectic. Making plans gets thrown out the window often during these winter months with the ever changing weather and quick decisions have to be made. Early in the week  I kayak fished with Rich Jr and we did some backcountry fishing in a remote area in the Everglades. Areas in the backcountry offer a lot of protection from the winter winds that will dominate as to where I go. It was kind of an exploratory trip and getting to one area that I fish from time to time was loaded with fish. Snook more specifically and for a couple of hours it was nonstop action catching many fish before we moved on. We were using lighter gear and with most of the fish averaging very small to around 24" it was a lot of fun. In one spot I unintentionally started catching baby snook around 5".  We each lost a much larger snook because of the light setups we were using in the same area. In the mix Rich also caught himself his first tarpon !! The strange catch of the day was a baby alligator around 20" that wanted my small plastic swim bait. Snook have been a bit scarce from what I have found along with reports by many others so it was nice to see all these fish.


Tuesday I was invited to help in the filming of a promotional show for a local business that will air on a morning Fox4 show out of Ft Myers. I was of course involved in the fishing segment and had fun with the host of the show, Carey Wegner catching fish.
The cold and very windy weather on Thursday forced me to reschedule a kayak fishing charter till next week because we were to fish in an open area up near Naples. I did another trip with Van Sayler and his wife, Jane on Friday here in Chokoloskee. It turned out to be a nice day even though the fishing was a bit slow but the main purpose of the trip was to show them some areas where they could kayak fish on their own in the future without getting lost.  

Jane with a nice Trout


Thursday, January 6, 2011

The New Year Week

It turned out to be a very exciting week. The New Year week, doing a lot of kayaking and fishing along with doing a few different charters. The kayak fishing has been very good but it’s been a little challenging with the weather constantly changing. There are some very strong tides right now also.  I’m happy with the results of finding some nice fish including a 32” snook I caught on New Year’s Day. I did trips from around Isle of Capri, a couple in backcountry areas in the Everglades and finally got to get back out to do a nice trip with a group to kayak fish our way out to the gulf using the tides to bring us out and the tides to return back to Everglades City. Pretty much everywhere I’ve been there have been many sea trout along with smaller (rat) redfish. Any of the larger redfish we caught were up in the backcountry. The biggest challenge has been finding bigger snook. Every backcountry area I fished this week has been full of snook with the majority being smaller fish up to around 20”. Still, the smaller guys have been fun catching because with the cooler water they have been very active and aggressive. They just seem to love the smaller plastic swim baits and jigs

Jarad E caught his smallest snook ever !

First trout in the bag, the first of many for a fish fry we had that evening !

Chef Travis with one of the many trout that he caught. Travis also caught his first Redfish on this trip!
Thanks for the awesome antipasto and side dishes to go with the trout Travis!