Thursday, February 24, 2011

Everglades Weather and Fishing Heat Up

This last week has been mostly about the weather. Nice warm days and cooler nights. It's allowed me to get out in the open water out in the bay and to visit many of my haunts and see how the fishing is. I visited a couple of the rookeries and the bird mating rituals and some nesting has begun. The fishing has been surprisingly good and I am happy to report that there appears to be quite a few snook around. I was surprised by one very large snook fishing at a mangrove spot where she spanked me hard as I could not stop her as she tore off line as if I didn't have any drag on. The lighter tackle I was using obviously was no match for her and I guess I will step back up with a little heavier gear. There have been redfish and nice size trout also in most of the places I fished.

Going back to last weekend, a group of us transcended up into the back country for a day of just hanging out and do some kayak fishing. Chris, Matt, Rich Jr, Mike and and his visiting from up north brother-in-law Chris. Perfect weather and everyone caught fish. Mike and his brother-in-law Chris got their slams (Red, Snook and Trout). I'll say it was beginners luck, even though he obviously knew how to fish Chris caught the largest fish of the day. It was a great day!  

I did a few charter trips during the week. A couple of highlights; one was taking out Dave visiting from NJ. I believe I relieved him of his cabin fever from the long winter they are having up north. We spent the day out in Chokoloskee bay and fished our way covering a few square miles catching fish. Dave got his first Florida inshore slam. Another great day! 




Another nice and fun day was taking out a different Dave from PA. With these warmer days and cooler nights comes the fog and it was pretty thick as we launched. It actually didn't burn off for a few hours. Again I decided to fish the bay and we had around a mile or so to get to the area I wanted to fish. Basically paddling blind into the thick fog we surprisingly ended up only a hundred yards or so where I wanted to go. Dave is just getting into kayak fishing and had me take him out to learn more about the sport. After catching a few lady fish, trout and reds we headed back in around noon

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Everglades Bay and Backcountry Fishing

It looks like the weather is beginning to make a change for the better, knock on wood. At least for the immediate future there will be day temperatures in the upper seventies and into the eighties. What that means for me is I'll be starting to spend more time kayak fishing and exploring the more open waters in the bays and other surrounding open waters in the area.

We headed out and fished the bay yesterday. Again it was a super low tide early on and I took advantage of the situation and spent a bit of time standing and sight fishing from the kayak. I was surprised to see as many larger Redfish as I did only they were super spooky in the clear shallow water and missed my opportunity a couple of different times. Waiting for the tide to change back to incoming we fished a couple of deeper spots and began catching some smaller redfish that were schooling in the muddy water with the mullet. We had fun catching these guys for awhile until the tide changed and then we headed out to catch a few trout for dinner. We made our way to a couple of places I fish for the trout and athough the trout fishing wasn't as good as it should have been we caught a few nice fish for dinner.  

Most all the young Redfish we caught had the iridesent blue tail fins

Earlier in the week I fished up in the backcountry. In the particular small lake we went to it didn't appear to be holding any tarpon but it was loaded with snook this day. Again most of the fish averaged between 24 and 26" and we had a blast for a few hours catching these fish. Rich Jr got spanked by a much larger snook in the mangroves.  

One of the Mangrove tunnels leading to the fishing hole

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Everglades Backcountry

Down the Tamiami Trail at sunrise one recent morning.

This week turned out to be a good time to concentrate the fishing to the backwaters. It's been warm enough but with the winds it has made it more difficult to get to the areas I like to fish out in the bay along with having to cross the open waters of the bay. I did fish one day in the bay with a client Jason and his girlfriend visiting from Philadelphia and had limited results due to the weather. We still had a lot of fun doing some exploring in the maze of mangroves out there where we found protection from the winds and some rain . The snook are still biting in the back waters along with the juvenile tarpons and it was a lot of fun also doing a couple of different trips back there this week. 

Rob from Toronto with his first Tarpon on fly. Not the largest tarpon he hooked up with that day but he was ecstatic with this catch !

This is Roger from Wisconsin hooked up with one of the snook that he caught. Roger hooked up with a nice size tarpon only to have it come unglued when the fish leaped into the mangroves and broke off. I also hooked up and lost a nice one that day.

At first there is always a little disappointment when a tarpon throws the hook or breaks you off but that's how it goes a lot of times with tarpon fishing. It's nice to get the fish in the boat but just hooking up with a nice tarpon and have it jump doing their aerobatics before throwing the hook is still very, very exciting!    

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Snook Factory

Earlier in the week after waking very early to go fishing as I usually do I stepped outside to check on the weather while the coffee was brewing. As soon as I went out I saw a flash in the sky through the clouds and then a large fireball come down over the water. Probably not as close as it seemed but I could see a fire trail behind it with bits of it breaking off. I didn't know what to think at first or if I was actually dreaming but I now think it was some kind of good omen from the fish gods.

I fished with Steve Bellrichard visiting from Iowa. Steve was interested in catching himself his first tarpon so I brought him up into an area in the Everglades backcountry to fish. We got an early start and as soon as we launched I could see the small tarpon rolling off in the distance. I believe Steve got a couple of nice hits and hookups from the fish but it wasn't to be and that's how it goes sometimes with these tarpon. At the same time Steve started catching some decent snook and the fun began ! At the end of the trip Steve described  the day well with saying I brought him to the "Snook Factory". Through the day, fishing a few different areas it was non-stop catching fish. Most fish were in the mid-twenties, some larger and definitely some larger one's  lost. We lost count as to how many fish were actually caught. This was a banner day for sure !

The weather this week really improved and it was a good time to get back out and kayak fish Chokoloskee bay. Rich Jr and I headed out to fish some of the oyster bar areas. This was the opportunity to throw some topwater plugs as with fishing in the backcountry I usually don't use them because it tends to attract the 'gators. On my second cast throwing a Zara Spook topwater I hooked up and caught my first fish and nicest fish of the day, A very fat 28" redfish ! Through the day we caught a bunch of other fish, mostly all redfish and trout. Rich caught the largest trout of the day at around 22" ! It was nice to get out in the bay again and if the weather holds up I will spending more time out there.