Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring has sprung in Chokoloskee bay

The warming trend continues into spring. It's been in the eighties all week and the waters temperatures are following. There are more baitfish moving in around the bay and I've been spotting some sharks which are very common during the summer months in the bay, it almost seems more like summer conditions now. Twice this week I spotted larger tarpon rolling in the shallows in the early morning and these were large fish. I didn't dare make a cast to them with my lighter gear but it's time to think about bringing a heavier setup for maybe an opportunity to hook up with one. 

Early one morning during the week I visited one of the backcountry areas to do a little fly fishing looking for snook for a few hours. I knew better and during the busier tourist season here it's one place I usually avoid because of it's easy access off of Hwy 41, it can attract a lot of traffic. The location is the East River part of Fachahatchee Strand. Most of the area kayak tour company's apparently are doing their eco tours here and all I can say when three different kayak tour groups showed up with their groups the birds and wildlife vacated the area and I did shortly after. I won't be going back there till summer.
If your interested in seeing the Real Everglades with no interruptions feel free to contact me.    

A nice 30" + Snook

Paul with a real nice trout, just moving to the area from Utah I took Paul out to show him some of the ways I kayak fish the area.

22" Trout from today. I can't believe how many larger trout are being caught lately out and around the bay.

Sunrise Redfish

The very early starters getting out on Chokoloskee bay will have the opportunity to see groups of Roseate Spoonbills roosting on a couple of the Mangrove islands through the summer

The happy Egret's

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Everglades Bay to Fachahatchee

I can't emphasize enough how much I love exploring around in the Everglades. Whether kayak fishing looking for where the fish are or finding new fishing holes. Along with this comes taking in everything else from the sunrises, the scenery and the wildlife. As far as the fishing, this has got to be the most unpredictable place I have ever fished, unlike many places in Florida. I love the challenge and some days you are rewarded and other days can turn out, well..., not.

Early the other morning fishing around some oyster bars in the bay looking for a redfish, a big trout or maybe a snook I fished with a topwater plug, my usual Zara Spook Jr. The snook are scarcer now after the big fish kill last winter. I've been able to find some larger fish here and there, but they are not very common. Most of the snook I've been catching are an average size around 20 to 30 inches.
I casually made a cast off a bar and the plug was immediately engulfed by a large fish and tears off a bunch of line. A second later, up comes the head of a very large snook trying to shake out the plug. Well, after a short time I somehow managed to get the fish with the lighter gear I was using to the boat, a big snook, I estimate her to be over 40" and then... by the boat with another head shake she finally wears through the 30lb leader and is gone...
At first very disappointed and shaking from the adrenaline rush I sat for a couple of minutes to calm down and I watched the sunrise. It's not the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last for this to happen. You can be sure I'll be stepping up to a heavier leader for the summer when I fish in these situations. 
A nice 27-28" Redfish I sight fished today in the morning low tide. There were a lot of red's on the very shallow mud flats and after five other attempts I caught this guy ! The reds were not grouped together but were either solo or in pairs as they foraged through the mud..

Black Drum with the Reds

One of a few snook caught in the backcountry this week

I went and checked out one of the rookeries in the bay and nesting and the mating rituals have begun for the Pelicans, Cormorants, Great White and Snowy Egrets


Fachahatchee Strand Preserve did a controlled burn on some of the prairie lands a couple of weeks ago and I went and did a little hike through the area the other day. I was thinking with the new grass just starting to grow I might have a chance to spot a panther. When I got into the area I saw a few different groups of deer grazing and knew there were no panthers around this day. A ways back as I walked I came across two deer, a young buck and doe. Trying to be stealthy I made my way towards them to try and photograph them. Before long they spotted me. Instead of spooking, I was a little surprised when they made their way towards me. I guess I maybe was something they had never seen before and they were curious. They came fairly close to me and the buck at one point started stamping his feet coming even closer. I stepped out from behind the bush where I was supposedly hiding and he stopped and ran back the few yards near the doe. I watched as they casually made their way across the meadow as I made my way back to my car.

Only Panther tracks today

Friday, March 11, 2011

In like a Lion

March is holding tradition as a lion of a month. The winds seem to be blowing fairly hard every day. The early mornings have been fine to get out before they kick up and kayak fish. The tides this week were in our favor earlier in the week to ride them out to the gulf which I did with Van Sayler and his wife, Jane, who had never kayaked out there before. Once reaching one of the barrier islands we spent our time fishing the area and after the tide changed we headed back. After a few reds and Jane with a nice flounder the winds were already blowing pretty good and luckily we had the incoming tide to help bring us back to Chokoloskee. I love going out there, it seems like months since I've been there and when the weather improves I'll be spending a lot more time out there.
Along with my son, Rich Jr, my visiting brother-in-law, Rick joined us to do some kayak fishing up around Goodland. Again the winds really picked up by late morning, Fishing was a little slow but it was still a great day and some nice fish were caught. Rick caught himself a nice 22" Gator trout and also his first snook ever. He also caught a nice flounder.

Mrs Osprey letting me know I'm getting too close

A visiting hawk that I think may be the same one that was around my place hanging around last year starting around this same time last year.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Back to the Back in the Everglades

The weather has been making a change to more spring like conditions and I was able to do a few kayak fishing trips out to a few different places in Chokoloskee Bay and Goodland. Early in the week there were perfect conditions but as the week progressed a front came through and the winds picked up and made for a bit of a challenge. All the trips were great even with it getting tougher to find fish after the front did come through. Most of fish caught this week were Seatrout and Redfish and it didn't seem to matter where I went but there seemed to be ladyfish everywhere.

 After a busy week of charters I decided to do a solo trip today and do a little exploring. The winds were to blow hard again so I decided to head back to the backcountry. I found a nice spot catching a few nice size snook and I spent a couple of hours having fun with them. Around mid-day thinking about packing it in I hooked up with a very nice fish and was rewarded with catching my largest snook of the day ! What a way to end the day !      

A few photos of fishing from this past week






Rich Jr