Thursday, December 27, 2012

Everglades Wintry Weather

As winter settles in to the north we have been very lucky here in the Everglades with mostly warmer and sunny weather so far this year. There have have been a couple of cooler days with a few cold fronts but they have been short lived.
For the most part the fishing has been very good and I've had some nice catches. Over the last week I fishing both the bay area and a couple of different places up in the backcountry and have caught some very nice fish. All the regular species are around including snook, redfish and trout. Finding larger snook has been a little challenging which because of the relatively warmer weather they still can be found out in more open waters along with some who are migrating to their winter homes up in the warmer backwaters.
Redfish and trout are here in numbers while there are mostly smaller reds being seen and caught, a larger one may be caught in the mix.
Trout as I said are here in numbers and you won't have to paddle far to find and catch them.
Some other catches around the area have been Pompano, Mackerel and Tripletail.
Oh, and of course juvenile tarpon which have been fun catching with the fly rod!

A very nice backcountry snook

and a nice 30"+ Redfish

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Excitement in The Everglades

A kind of rare time out on the water in the Everglades in the winter we were blessed with  calm waters for a couple of days. Glass calm and almost gin clear waters made for some good site fishing but also made for some spooky fish. Over the course of a couple of days I managed to catch a few nice fish. 

The Redfish have taken on some real pretty darker red and bronze colors. I caught a few from rat sized reds up to a couple a bit larger up to around 26" over the last week. 

Our winter fishery is almost in full swing and there are many sea trout around and pretty much a guarantee catch when fishing the area waters right now. Many are a nice size such as this one around 24"

If you know where and when to go there are good chances of getting into some juvenile tarpon. It has been a lot of fun fishing for these guys with the fly rod. This is mostly all backcountry fishing although there is still a chance of hooking up with a (larger) tarpon in some of the deeper passes in the area.

There are snook just about everywhere I have fished lately even though most of the fish are smaller. It's great news for the future of the snook fishery where so many died in the freeze a couple of years ago. I'm hoping that the Florida FWC keeps the snook fishery as catch and release only for the foreseeable future. Oh, and there are a few larger snook around and if you should get lucky and hook up and catch one your mind will change quick as to your favorite fish to catch.


I have some more information on the upcoming kayak fishing tournament that will be coming to The Everglades on March 2nd. Rather than try to explain all the details of this new format for a tournament please check out the video and links below. Woody Callaway and John Grace with Native Watercraft are the masterminds of this new and exciting event. 


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Everglades Challenge's

As I previously talked a little about, we are in a time of transition here in the Everglades heading into the winter months. Of course there are some patterns (migrations) that the different fish species follow with the changing seasons but unlike most other places in Florida in this western area on the Everglades these patterns can be somewhat unpredictable at times, strong tides and the weather playing a large part in what happens. After putting your time in, fishing often over years in different places is when you will be able to somewhat predict when, where and what kind of fish will be around at any given time of the year. Even some of your best or so called "rock star" guides that fish these Everglades waters will tell you that when you believe you have it all figured out everything changes and you have to start all over again.
One advantage of using a kayak vs using a motorized boat for me over the years to fish many of the places in the Everglades has been the limited amount of area you can cover in one day in comparison to motor boats, you will concentrate on smaller areas usually within a reasonable distance of where you launched and then find and catch quality fish. Guides and people in general who use motor boats have a tendency to not concentrate for long in any one particular area before moving on to fish another. I know many guides that will go fifteen to even over thirty miles away to bring their clients to look for quality fish when these same fish can usually be caught near where they launched in Chokolskee or Everglades City. I guess if you are charging between four to six hundred dollars for a charter it's one way to try and justify it with you getting a nice long boat ride.    

This past week has been fairly windy with a few colder days which has made it a little tough to get to some of my fishing spots out and around the bay so I spent a few days in a couple different areas up in the backcountry. Most of these trips were all fly fishing and it was fun catching many small snook, baby and some nice size juvinile tarpon.

"DJ Dan Decibal" with one of the nice Tarpon's that he caught ! 

The other week I joined up with a group from ,a kayak fishing group from the Ft Myers area who wanted to come down to see and fish a little bit of the Everglades. There were around fourteen guys and we launched out of Chokoloskee. The weather turned out to be great and everyone caught fish including reds, trout, snook, and flounder. A few guys also got their inshore slam. It was a real nice day with great company and I hope to join up with them again one day soon on another one of their adventures. 

For those interested, a great new event will be happening here in the Everglades. There will be a new kayak fishing tournament happening the first week in March. It will be a new format and challenge for kayak fisherman which will put all participants on a more even playing field. I'll post details as I get them.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Moving into the Everglades Winter

Moving into our winter months we are are finally over the really hot day's of summer. Other than a few more windy day's lately it's been real comfortable spending time on the water in the kayaks. The water's cooled down some also. Fishing has been consistently good in the bay area's and up in the backcountry. Fish caught this week have been snook, reds and many sea trout along with some smaller tarpon (baby's up to over 30") and a couple of flounder. 

Remember if your thinking about or planning on kayak fishing with me during this winter, please contact me for any info needed or book your trip as soon as you know the date(s) so I can get you on the calender.
Also remember that I am now offering "Mother Ship" trips to get us to some of the more remote areas of the park. 
Most details about trips can be found by clicking on "Trip Details" on the top right of the page. Thank You !

Ton's of baby snook around (Bay and backcountry) with a larger one caught here and there in the mix

Baby tarpoons on fly

Lot's of Rat reds around and a few 22 to 25 inches


On one of my trips last week I had a fun couple of days taking out Mickey and Bill from the Citrus County area of Florida. I broke the trip up with one day of fishing Chokoloskee bay and the other up in the backcountry. Snook, Trout and some  baby tarpon were caught. I couldn't believe it but no reds were caught even though there were some around, it was still a good time had by all.

You would think with all the time I spend up in the backcountry in the Everglades that I would have seen more of the Burmese Pythons that are invading the area. Well, I finally caught a glimpse as a very large snake slid into the water off an overhanging mangrove. I tryed to find the snake to no avail but it couldn't have been any kind of other snake species as this was one huge animal.

With winter on it's way I'm starting to see more and more of the different migrating birds that come to this area to spend the winter including a short tail hawk  (from central/south America), Pied Billed Grebes, Many species of ducks including the more common Blue Teal. Woodstorks and a variety of different hawk  species. I've been seeing bald eagles a lot lately but I'm not sure these would be migratory and the White Pelicans are back to stay for the winter.

(Local) Red Shouldered Hawk

Monday, November 5, 2012

Winter approaches The Everglades

It appears that winter is approaching, I actually had to put on jeans and a long sleeve shirt on a couple of really we had a cold front come through after Hurricane Sandy passed by and temperatures dropped. The water temperatures dropped a good 20 degrees over the last week or so and had a few very windy day's preventing any fishing out on the bay. 
Getting out on the bay once a couple of days ago showed the apparent sign's of winter. Trout have appeared in larger numbers already and I caught a couple that were a nice size around 20" on a topwater plug a sure sign of winter fishing conditions. Also on a topwater I hooked up with a nice red and also caught a smaller rat red on a jig. Snook eluded me but Rich Jr caught a couple, one a nice size around 24". It was pretty windy the day we went out with a ripping outgoing tide so it was hard to decipher where and what the snook are doing yet. 

It's almost the opposite up in the backcountry. There are snook it seemed everywhere that we fished, the only thing these were mostly all baby fish. I fly fished one day area last week hoping for a decent size tarpon or snook only to have basically the same results. The first couple of hours all I could hook up with were baby tarpon. Mostly around 12 to 18" and the largest caught was around 24". There were larger fish around me but never could hook up. It was still fun catching these little guys cause they are just as crazy as their parents but I would have liked a 20 or 30lb'er on the end of my line.
Ironically at another spot in the same area I heard and spotted a few larger snook deep under the mangroves feeding. I made my best attempt to entice one of these fish to eat my fly only to have it attacked over and over again by baby snook. They were like piranhas and after awhile I called it a day.

Just before I left on my trip to North Carolina I took out a small group from the "Ladies, Lets go Fishing" group who have events around Florida to teach the girls about fishing. I was bringing these girls out to show them and teach them about kayak fishing. I had the infamous Jean McElroy assist me. This was a mother ship trip where we headed out to one of the barrier islands to kayak and fish. Another fairly windy day but everyone had a great time and everyone caught some nice fish including redfish, trout and flounder.

This year I am now again offering these mothership trips so if you interested you can read about them and get more info by clicking HERE.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Curtis Creek Chronicles

This past summer I had camped and fished  in a beautiful area in western North Carolina called Curtis Creek in Piscah National Forest. With my season about to begin here in the Everglades I decided to head back for a few days and do it again before I am busy with my winter guiding business. After the long drive Rich Jr and myself met up with our old friend Brian Brace in Black Mountain, NC and headed out to camp for a few days. We found and set up a great camp a few miles up on the mountain. No cell phone or Internet for the next couple of days.
We noticed that there was a lot of hunters up and down the road in their trucks with dogs and that's when we found out that it was black bear hunting season and the area we were in was prime hunting grounds for bear. The area was known for black bear to travel through this area. We never did see any bears but you can be sure we were very wary of the situation and slept with one eye open. 

The creek for the most part was fairly narrow with some small pools and it was a bit challenging with the fly rod. I used my 5wt setup which was a bit overkill for the the size fish I was catching but it's the lightest setup I own. I'll be sure and step it down next time with maybe a 2 or 3 wt setup.  I had been told that larger trout were caught in this creek but I suspect it was down the mountain where the creek is larger and deeper. Another local informed me that fish where we were rairly got over 8 or 9 inches which held true. I wasn't fishing for larger fish but more for the challenge of fishing in this terrain and I must say it was pretty challenging in many of the places. I would have to say it was (almost) as rewarding as fishing for and catching  larger snook and tarpon out of the mangroves.

Curtis Creek, NC

Lookout Mountain

After our camping adventure we did a couple of awesome day hikes to check out the fall foliage.

Triple Falls

It was a great trip and I look forward to getting back there maybe in the spring.....