Friday, December 27, 2013

Everglades Winds

 It appears that we are going to have a very windy winter here in The Everglades. Launching early has been the only relief from the windy conditions, at least for an hour or two before it starts blowing again. As frustrating as it can be when fly fishing it forces you to practice different casting skills in these adverse conditions.

The windy conditions have kept me mostly in the backwaters where you can usually find some protection, but lately a couple of days were very challenging.
Along with the windy conditions in a couple of places I fish the water has been blown out even though they are tidal waters and I've had to portage my boat to get in to some of these places. It's been worth it to me because of the rewards, catching a few nice fish.

I spend most of my time when fishing these areas standing and site fishing from the kayak and in these windy conditions has made it very difficult and I have spooked more larger fish that I want to admit to by not being able to see them. Many of the fish caught recently have been caught blind casting. 

I'll get out in the bay and more open water areas with the weather permitting. The winter trout are here along with the redfish.  

Yellow Legs

Friday, December 13, 2013

Everglades Winter Season

Dawn in The Everglades

Well, It's almost the end of another year. Time passes so quick. I began writing this blog over four years ago to write about my experiences in The Everglades, most of which has turned out to be mostly about the fishing which is my main passion with a hint of what the rest of the Everglades is all about. I have enjoyed doing it and gained a great following over the years and Thankyou! for the support. Thanks also for the support from Native Watercraft and all of my other great sponsors.
I have been bouncing around the idea and after around ten years that this may well be my last year of taking people out and showing them my Everglades and doing any guided fishing with the kayaks, we shall see. For now though, I'm looking forward to having another great season! Happy Holidays everyone !

Rarely fishing way up in the backcountry you catch a redfish here in the Everglades. You would say "no way" if you knew where I actually was. Anyway, Redfish are pretty much everywhere you go in Florida but this fish was a rare (Surprise) catch..being where I was. Not anywhere near the largest redfish I've caught but very near the prettiest with it's golden colors, it made my day for sure!

Tarpon in your face

Pound for pound my favorite fish to hookup with and catch in The Everglades. "No" bass will ever match up with hooking up and the fight of a snook. "Bass on steroids" as many of us around here call them.

Yours Truly, I thought a great shot by Dan Decibel fishing with him a week or so ago.

Winter prairie, early morning in Fakahatchee Strand

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Everglades Winter Fishing

As I'm sitting here writing this it's dead calm outside but recently the northeast winds have been relentless and has prevented doing much kayak fishing out in the open waters in the bay. I did get out there a few times doing a couple of charters and actually caught some decent fish including snook, trout, a couple of flounder, jacks and ladyfish. No redfish, which is kind of surprising, but I wasn't able to concentrate on finding them. I hope to get back out there tomorrow to see what I can find.
The majority of my time fishing has been spent kayak fishing the back waters mostly fly fishing. Catching many snook and juvenile tarpon, also one day had a blast catching jacks and another day I happened on a school of smaller reds catching a few of those.

Over the holiday weekend I spent one afternoon with friend DJ Dan Decibal fly fishing some backwaters on a fairly windy day. No monster fish caught but caught many small snook and a couple of tarpon. Dan did a nice writeup of the day along with some nice photos and you can see that at Here . 

Fakahatchee Strand in it's winter colors 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Chokoloskee Bay Blues

It looks like finally I will be able to spend more time (at least for the immediate future) and concentrate on the fishing out in Chokoloskee Bay and more open water areas towards the gulf. Due to some very windy days recently from the fronts coming through, I've been spending all of my time up in the more protected backwaters mostly fly fishing. The fishing has been fairly good with some nice juvenile tarpon catches, a couple of decent size snook and many smaller ones.

I can only see the back country fishing improving as we move into the winter months.

There have been some good recent reports of the fishing out in the bay and outer areas and after a couple of weeks, I will be heading back out there tomorrow with a group to kayak fish some of the areas. I'll make a report asap.  

Young gator playing hide and seek with me

Monday, November 4, 2013

Everglades Cold Front

Backcountry Sunrise
Light at the end of the tunnel

Well I see from the weather reports the temperatures are dropping drastically in many states north of Florida already and even snowing in some places. Well, I'm glad to be down here in the Everglades even with getting a couple of (cold?) fronts coming through here also. The wind has been blowing pretty good and it's been difficult  to get out on the bay and some other open water areas. The nice option I always have is to kayak fish up in the backcountry and that's where I've been spending my time the last few days. I rarely have cancelled a trip to these areas because of the weather. It's still a little difficult to access some of these areas because the water is still a little high from the summer rains and I've had to kind of bushwhack my way through a couple places but it's been well worth it.

As the water level drops and as the water temperature drops fish will congregate and also migrate into many of these backcountry areas. With cooler temperatures in winter the water temps are always warmer than say the bay and gulf areas and will hold bait fish which is a great attraction for the many tarpon and snook that will spend most of the winter months here. 

As I was saying I've spent the last few days exploring in a couple of these places and the fishing has been phenomenal. Along with catching some nice size snook and juvenile tarpon I also caught a few redfish, one around 30" (pictured below) which is kind of rare in these more freshwater areas. Anyway, I'm headed back out there tomorrow as it's supposed to blow again and I'm thinking that the fishing will be good.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Winter Advances Towards The Everglades

Well, we got our first cold front. 60's at night, upper 70's during the day. Beautiful weather if you ask me, a welcome relief for a couple of days anyway. I'll find out tomorrow how this plays out with the fishing.

can't stop thinking about the fishing this last week. With a full moon the fishing was a bit slow but I still managed some nice catches. Being in the right place at the right time played a big part in my success in catching a few larger snook. My largest fish of the week was a beautiful snook that was pushing 40 inches. It slipped out of my hands as I was attempting to take a photo of her but I'll never forget that fish. Another nice catch, the snook pictured above, who was around 36". Two other snook caught were a nice size around 32". In general like I said the fishing was a little slow but besides the larger snook caught a few other smaller snook were caught along with a few redfish, a couple of trout, 1 flounder and a few snappers. From all accounts as long as we don't have a major cold front the fishing should be very productive through November. 

A recent trip with John Pruder who wanted to learn about kayak fishing. We fished up around Marco island. John had  a banner day catching a couple of nice redfish, snook, trout and a flounder

A common by-catch  when fishing around the mangroves for snook, the Mangrove Snapper can be very aggressive and annoying as they will destroy your soft plastic baits but, also are very good eating with their sweet meat and will make for some great fish tacos.  

Here's a pretty cool photo from my travels hiking in North Carolina of a gathering of a couple different kinds of butterflies

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Almost back in the 'Glades

While Everglades National Park was closed I spent most all my time concentrating my kayak fishing in some other nearby areas around the park. Many of these areas are my old stomping grounds up around Marco Island, Goodland and surrounding areas. A majority of the kayak fishing charters I do are mostly here in the Everglades but I do also offer kayak fishing in these other places.
Personally I prefer fishing here in the Everglades but for those that live or stay  around Marco and want to learn that area I can show you where the fish are and how to fish it. Some of the places I fished were where I remembered catching fish before and lo and behold I again caught a few nice fish again in these same places.

Last year I introduced doing the mother ship assisted trips and I'm happy to say that I am offering them again for this year. I have some very awesome and remote places in the national park where we get transported to and kayak fish for the day. These places are way beyond being able to paddle to in one day, isolated, and the fishing can be unbelievable. For many this is a once in a lifetime experience and is very competitively priced. Please Email me or call for more information.

I have a couple of other things up my sleeve for future Everglades experiences so stay tuned ! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Government Can't Shut Me Down!

Well, I don't want to get into it but the government and this country is really screwed up. The current events haven't changed my opinion, it's just more proof !  The majority of people around the country just passively let it happen and say or do nothing because they are brainwashed by the government and at the present they think it won't effect them.
Enough of my little rant but for those who don't know the government has shut down all the national parks, Everglades National Park, Big Cypress, Biscayne National Park and 10,0000 Island National Refuge Area, that's most of southern Florida including the keys. It is effecting thousands of people, not only all fishing guides who have permits to fish in the parks as myself but all businesses, including motels, restaurants,etc.

As I'm not aloud in Everglades National Park right now to guide I have been concentrating on kayak fishing the surrounding areas. Although I fish these places allot anyway and the fishing has been great I might add the governments antics are stopping people from coming to the area, so no potential trips right now for the immediate future.

October tends to be a very good month for fishing the area as the seasons change and fish begin to move. I've had one great day after another the last week or so. There is still a lot of freshwater in the backcountry from all the rain that we've had this summer but I tend to be catching a lot of nice redfish back there which isn't really that common. Also, I have been catching a ton of smaller snook and just as many smaller (baby) tarpon which has been a blast with a light fly setup. I hate to admit it but I have been in somewhat of a snook slump loosing four very big fish this last week, two that were my fault and two I lost to equipment (hook) failure. I hope to change that soon!

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Coming Season

Remembering when I first started kayak fishing the sport was still in a kind of infancy.I can recollect thinking how I might be able to access some of the more remote places around the area. I had thought about maybe getting a canoe, having used them many times growing up and then I discovered people fishing out of kayaks. Other than a couple of groups or clubs that I found on the Internet there really wasn't much information around on fishing out of kayaks at the time. I soon discovered and met others in Florida that were kayak fishing and it wasn't long after that I purchased a new 2005 Heritage Redfish 14 which had just came out. At the time there were just a handful of choices for sit-on-top kayaks suitable for fishing. One thing led to another and I was fishing out of that kayak every chance I had traveling around Florida to the endless places to kayak fish. My passion for the sport led me to start guiding around the Everglades part time and now to the present, guiding full time for almost the last 8 years. Looking back at the sport to what it has become now it's almost overwelming how it has grown. 

My season will begin here in the next month or so and I'm pretty excited about it. As I mentioned above with the popularity of the sport I have many trips booked for the season, both with new kayak fisherman as well as the more experienced. In years passed most of my trips were mostly all about teaching about kayak fishing. I'm also really impressed with how popular fly fishing out of kayaks has become and again around half of the trips I have booked for this year are fly fishing.

I've been fishing alot lately, going out on average every other day. I have so many places I fish that are very different from each other here in the Everglades that it's been tough to stay on top of things with the conditions we've had for the last couple of months. I have found and caught some nice fish though!

Snook, Redfish and, juvenile Tarpon have been the main catches lately along with some trout and flounder. The fishing has definitely improved with the temperatures dropping a little and less rain than we were having.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Crazy Everglades

It amazes me sometimes how fast conditions can change here in the Everglades. Since my last report I have had a couple of real good and successful days out kayak fishing, both fly fishing and spin fishing. A couple of very nice snook and decent size redfish caught along with a few nice size trout which I don't really even target this time of year. I've had a few hookups with some juvenile tarpon in the backcountry but didn't land any.
I had kind of a crazy thing happen the other morning while fishing in the bay. As I do most mornings when starting my day fishing I throw a top water plug looking for snook and reds. There were schools of mullet all over around me and I noticed a few tarpon rolling and a few manatee also hanging out in the same area. As the sun is just rising I'm working the plug back along a shoreline in about two feet of water. I then see a large swell in the water heading towards the plug. At first I'm thinking it's a shark when I see the flash and it is a very large tarpon. When I say very large, I mean like at least an 80lb fish. The fish makes a crashing attack and somehow misses the plug. Knowing I could never handle this fish with my gear I reel in fast to get my line out of the water and then I see this crazy tarpon in hot pursuit. About six feet from the kayak as I'm getting my line in the fish attacks again and he almost lands in my boat and totally soaks me. I've had some crazy things happen while out fishing and this one is near the top of the list. What a way to start the morning ! 

" Nice Snook !"

Rich jr with a very nice Red he caught recently!

Mayan Cichlids one of the few types of exotic species caught here in the western Everglades are usually a bycatch fishing the backcountry for snook and tarpon but are a blast to catch especially when using a lighter fly setup.

I'm very excited about the upcoming winter season. I already have a bunch of trips booked so, if your thinking about kayak fishing with me here in the Everglades, sooner is better to book your trip so there are no disappointments.