Saturday, July 19, 2014

Everglades Heat Up

Since my return from my trip to North Carolina I don't believe the temperature has gone much below 80 degrees here in the Everglades. By noon and for the rest of the day it's been 90 degrees plus, the humidity is way up and storms have been coming early many days. The bugs are another story. I've been planning my trips by the weather only and not bothering with the tides or moon phase. When there's a window to go fishing I go. It may not sound very inviting but the fishing actually has been very good, especially fishing for snook and young tarpon in the backwaters. 

When I've been going, it's been an early start before sunrise and finished by noon when it's super hot and the bite is basically over because of it. I've had a few very successful mornings recently fishing with both the fly rod and a spinning rod and using mostly topwater plugs and flys.
Anyway, I do look forward to some cooler days.

Looking at the upcoming winter season I have decided to offer and concentrate more on just fishing in the Everglades backcountry. This past winter due to so many windy days it was tough to get out in the bay and more open waters of the gulf and I don't want to put clients through the long paddle to get to my fishing areas. Instead, for any fishing in more salt waters where I would fish for reds and trout along with snook, tarpon and other species I will offer to kayak fish more around the Marco Island and Naples areas. I have many places up that way that I know very well and some awesome fishing with a lot shorter paddle.
I've booked a few trips already for the upcoming season and if you are planning a trip to the area and are thinking about fishing with me, contact me to reserve your day sooner than later so you are not disappointed, Thanks. 

This is Phil who fished with me just before I left for North Carolina with his very nice snook that he caught with me.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Lowlands To The Highlands

Well, I'm back from my annual pilgrimage to Western North Carolina to visit friends, fish and take a short break from The Everglades.    

To compare the two, it's like night and day, from the lowlands to the highlands. I first visit my old friend from Vermont, Brian Brace an accomplished and fellow furniture maker friend who has his shop in Black Mountain, NC. I use this town as my home base and fish the surrounding areas from here. After a couple of years of visiting the area I know a couple of local guides and others who fish the area and learn what I can from them and where I should fish.

I still consider myself somewhat of a novice fishing these creeks and small rivers but my success rate gets better each year I come back. Having really no clue on what flys to use when I arrive I stop at the local fly shop in Black Mountain, One Fly Outfitters to have them set me up with a selection to use.

Over the course of a couple of weeks I fished seven different creeks, a couple of these twice and it was pretty challenging I must say. I was told when I arrived it was after the "delayed harvest time" which means apparently  the creeks were basically fished out from all the local fisherman catching all the recently stocked fish which, really didn't matter to me because I would be fishing mostly in the upper sections higher in the mountains.

I fished hard thru some rough country. I hiked and bushwhacked up and threw many of these creeks where in many places were surrounded or overgrown by Rhododendron and other underbrush and trees. A good thing is I never came upon any bears or snakes which are fairly common in the area.

The fish are mostly native brook trout in these places and can tend (or seem) to be scarce. Most are not very big fish which never grow big because of this environment and the average fish was around 3 to 5 inches. It's very challenging fishing. Just about any catch here was a time for celebration.

The Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountain areas of North Carolina is stunning to say the least and if you have never been to this part of the country it's certainly a place to visit and check out. The fish I caught were just a bonus to being here and I look forward to return again next year.

My largest Brookie around 10"

A nice Brown Trout

My go to setup on most of these trips this year was a 5wt 7'6" TFO Professional Series II rod with a Lamson reel. The line was Royal Wulff "Ambush" series which was awesome for it's ease of roll casting. I had a short tapered leader with a tippet either 4X or 5X,
  and I used a variety of dry and terrestrial flys.