Everglades City & Chokoloskee - Top Water Snook
Capt. Charles Wright
August 21, 2008
Everglades City - Saltwater Fishing Report
Tropical Storm Fay has passed (at least passed us!), the Dog Days of Summer are still dog-gone good and the July/August period is one of my personal favorites times to fish the Everglades. However, September and October offer up some of the best fishing of the year.
Through out the summer we have been playing with juvenile tarpon. The juvies are still plentiful, but by fall, they will have grown up to become teenagers and young adults … full of fire and energy. Most importantly, unlike teenagers, they also become fairly predictable in their feeding patterns. Tarpon can be very finicky, so September and October can be a refreshing reprieve for tarpon angler. They actually eat regularly.
Deep in the back country shallows, the water can seem almost stagnant. While it is not, the water is the warmest of the year. This is ideal conditions for our "poonettes".
Tarpon have a modified swim bladder that allows it to supplement its oxygen uptake. To do they must roll on the surface and "gulp" air. Warm water has a significantly lower oxygen concentration than cooler water and the tarpon roll regularly to gulp. This makes it easy to pattern their movements and get a fly in front of them. The "Black Death" fly has been the "ticket" this month. Although, I would suspect that any dark pattern would work well. This fishing should hold strong into early October.
September brings in fall and fall brings in the greatest concentration of redfish of the year. Still readily taking top waters on top of the bars, your best bet, however, is something sub-service. The will be lots of bait around. So much so, sometimes, that is about all you can get them to eat on the outside islands.
The near shore structure will still be holding permit schools. While a live crab is the bait of choice, this time of year the will run down a fly or a jig readily.
The end of October means a bit of change. The water begins to cool; we may see a cool front or two. Cobia, Spanish mackerel, blue fish, speckled trout all begin to show up at their winter residence.
September and October in the Everglades National Park mean great fishing for all species. But nothing is better than the snookin'. The snook have all spawned by now and have lost their "rut" tendencies. Now is the time for them to start fattening up for the winter time. The fish that you catch in September and October will, in general, be pounds lighter than those in the summer. However, they are bad! A 15 lb snook in the fall, puts a 20+ fish in the summer to shame. They are aggressive, aerobatic and hungry.
September 1st marks the first of the fall harvest season, so there will be more boats on the water than we are used to. But after the hoorah of the first two weeks, things get back to normal. The kids are back in school, so mid-week, we anglers have this wonderful National Park to ourselves … until the weekend.
Top waters, twitch baits, jigs and flies; all are good in the fall. Sight fishing is excellent. Live bait is plentiful. However, the kayak fishing is outstanding. Most weekends I prefer the Yak Attack kayak fishing trips. We access fish that others simply can not get to and we are usually way out of the way of all "weekend warriors".
I say that "tongue-in-cheek". We are spoiled here in the Park as we can often make a 20 mile run down the coast and see but a few boats. In terms of fishing and boating pressure, the busiest days on the water here are like a Wednesday night in most other places in the State. Yes, we are spoiled.
October also kicks off our camping season. Each weekend we venture deep into the Park for over-nighter's. Outfitted with a 40,000 BTU four-burner stove, 140,000 BTU side burner, three supper coolers, excellent groceries and refreshments, individual tents, six-inch air mattresses, the Yak Attack and six outfitted fishing kayaks, we have a serious-good-time. You are welcome to fish as hard, as long and as often as you care to. Although, I do suggest that you plan for a mid-afternoon nap! The trips really are something special … something that the whole family can enjoy.
Capt Charles Wright
Snook Tarpon Redfish Permit Cobia
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