Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chokoloskee and some Backcountry Fishing

Being a bit windy during the past week from the passing hurricane I only managed to get out on the bay once early in the week and concentrated more on doing some exploring in some backcountry areas where there was more protection. A group of us fished the bay and although the conditions seemed perfect with an outgoing tide it was not the most productive day for catching fish for most of us. I did fairly well and caught a few nice size redfish, a few decent size snook and one nice size trout. I started with throwing my top water plugs (Zara Spook's) and ended up using them the whole morning.
Exploring some of the backcountry during the week conditions have changed a bit since we have started getting a lot more rain. The salinity is down and water levels are very high. There were a few places that were still productive for fishing but when these water levels are up back there the snook and even the small tarpon are able to get back into the mangroves where they tend to stay where it is cooler and they can feed on the baitfish that will go back there also along with crabs and other critters. These can be times of frustration when you know the fish are there and you can hear them feeding but can't get to them.  

Birds and Bugs

Monday, August 15, 2011

August Everglades Fishing

I had a busy schedule this past week only it was mostly not on the water or fishing. I did manage getting out a couple mornings early and concentrated mostly on fly fishing in the back country. Rains during the week were at anytime and the one day it rained the whole time. Nicest size fish was the snook below around 32", a real challenge after he headed into and wrapped himself up in the mangrove roots and then getting him out of there.   

One of my lizard fans who hung around for awhile.

A couple of other fish caught recently. These were caught in the bay.
Nice Trout over 22"
This red around 26". A surprise catch caught at a dead low tide around midday on a very shallow mudflat. Caught on a blind cast as I was making my way back to where I launched.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

DemiJohn Key Float Trip

Deciding on where would be a good place to kayak and fish this week and with checking the tide situation I thought this would be a good time to do a float trip out to one of the barrier islands in the gulf. I decided on going out to Demijohn Key since it’s been about a year since I’ve been out there. It’s a great place with shallow water flats and also some deep water drop offs around it. There are a couple of great places to get out of the kayaks to take a break even though there isn’t an actual beach there. The fishing here can be very good but if it isn't at some point in the trip on the way out there or on the way back will usually have a place or two that produces some fish. The route I take from Chokoloskee is usually just less than four miles and with making detours to fish a few different bays and coves I figure today we covered around ten miles round trip. My son, Rich, joined me for the trip.
We got an early start and fished in the bay for awhile before we proceeded to drift out with the outgoing tide through the maze of mangrove islands to get to the gulf. The forecast was for very warm weather, typical for this time of year but today there was a light wind from the west which was somewhat of a relief from the hot sun.

The day was great from the beginning. There were no mosquitoes to speak of when we launched, even though there were some no-seeums that harassed us in a couple of other places. The fishing was great in the bay and it was tempting to just to stay there and fish. We each caught a few nice fish before making our way out into the maze. As we made our way we caught more fish.  We each caught our share of Redfish, Trout and Snook.  I brought one heavier fishing setup in case of seeing some tarpon. We made one detour to an area where I sometimes find them and there they were only these were very large fish, eighty to a hundred pound fish, a bit larger than I anticipated and I decided against fishing for one. We just watched for awhile as they rolled just a short distance from us before moving on.

We made our way into the open gulf with Demijohn Key in our sites. It was very calm and quiet with not another boat within site. The only real noise was an occasional Osprey squawking or one crashing into the water after a mullet. There were dolphins around and the occasional loggerhead turtle surfacing and you could hear them catching a breath of air.

As we arrived at Demijohn Key it was about low tide and there was not much going on as far as the fishing. We stayed around the area for awhile and explored around the island waiting for the tide to change. Every once in awhile we would hear loud crashing off in a distance as dolphin or Tarpon would be feeding on schools of baitfish or mullet and you could see the silver shine of the schools of fish flying up into the air. I heard a couple of other loud splashes off in the distance which sounded like the large Spotted Eagle Rays as they jump and crash back into the water but I didn't actually see them.

Around noon the tide changed and we headed back to catch it back in Chokoloskee Pass and ride it back to our launch site in the bay. We fished a couple of spots on the way again and when we arrived back in the bay around 2:30 I caught one last Redfish and Rich caught a nice trout after which we called it a day.

We caught a few nice fish today but the highlight was catching a few Redfish that were over the slot size of 27"