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Everglades City, Chokoloskee and Everglades National Park

Capt. Charles Wright
February 18, 2003
Everglades City - Saltwater Fishing Report

Everglades National Park Warms ... Finally!!

Everglades National Park Warms ... Finally!!

It feels like South Florida again!!  With temperatures

approaching 80 degrees and the water warming fast the Everglades National Park

is once again alive.  The baits have returned, the birds are fattening up

and the predatory fish are feeding. 

Throughout

the cold in January and February, the fishing was generally good on the inshore

areas with consistent trout and sheep head action.  The offshore bottom

fishing never really fell off.  However, there were many times, when sight

fishing, we would just look at the snook and they would simply look back. 

We just could not get them to feed in the unseasonably cold water. 

However, as soon as the water warmed AND the baits returned, from

wherever they were, the place "went off "... immediately.

Last Friday, I had both a morning charter and an afternoon

charter.  We managed a bag of trout in the morning, but things were so slow

that I rescheduled the afternoon launch for another date.  Instead of

fishing, I took the afternoon to fly the Cessna over the Park and do some

scouting.  The water was pretty churned up from the winds so I could not

see much more than a few schools of snook in their typical residences. 

However, just offshore was a vision of pure love. BAIT FISH!! More importantly,

bait fish moving into shore!

The

next morning, with Ed Able and his engineer associate, Frank, both

from Ocean City, NJ, we scooted out to where I expected the baits to splash the

shore.  Fishing one of the river mouths, we saw a mess of snook ... snook

with lockjaw.  Frank did pull a couple snook out of the thickets, however,

and Ed landed a nice sheep head.  The  jacks and ladyfish were back

strong ... there is finally forage around. 

When the tide became too high to sight fish, we headed to a

grass flat.  What a refreshing site, birds diving, mackerel jumping,

ladyfish slicing into baits, trout slurping on the surface, pompano skipping and

schools of jacks showering bait fish.  Needless to say, that was a long

deserved and refreshing change.  The Park is back!. Whew, it has seemed

like a endless winter. Though we did not set the fishing world on fire that day,

things were like they are "supposed to be".  The guys caught trout,

redfish, snook, sheep head, ladyfish, jacks, and mackerel.  What a

difference a day makes.

Sunday,

with Lisa Dargavage of Campbell & Rosemurgy Realty (Deerfield

Beach) on board, we set out for a few hours of trout fishing.  We were

having a fish fry that evening!!  Quick success.  Big nice trout were

amongst the bait.  We did have to fish thru a thousand jacks and ladyfish,

of course. We  had to measure every trout caught to make sure that they

were not oversized.  All the trout that we kept, were barely under the 20"

limit.  These guys had just followed the bait in from offshore.

 It was a nice, relaxing three hour trip.  We

harvested a nice dinner and Lisa even managed to get in a nap!! We brought home

five nice trout for dinner, but  we could not resist adding a few fresh

Spanish Mackerel to the pot. Nothing is better than  fried fresh

mackerel.  At the dock, Dale tossed in a redfish and dinner was served for

twelve!!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to fishing with Dave Kadison

and his 10 year old daughter Sara.  Dave is an excellent fly rodder, only

surpassed by Sara's casting prowess.  The turbid water from the southerly

winds combined with the overcast sky, made sight fishing all but impossible. 

Blind casting the snook and redfish holes proved to be a fruitless.  Sara,

after getting some good close up photos of Wally Gator, caught us some small

ladyfish to use later ... so into the live well they went.  We had hoped to

tease up a cobia to Dave's fly later in the trip.

We stopped in the bait schools for a little exercise. 

Sara, after about 15-20 fish in a row, tired, so we headed off to the near-shore

structure for the cobia.  Mackerel were rocketing on the surface and blue

runners were streaking below.  We dropped a live volunteer down on some

light tackle to do a little looking around.  It was just a few minutes

before the little ladyfish was gobbled.  Goliath grouper!!  Dave did

an excellent job digging this fish off the bottom on such light tackle. Although

it was only 20lbs, he landed on a trout rod!! 

While Dave was wrestling with the Goliath, Sara had real nice

run on her eight pound spinner.  Unfortunately, we never saw the fish, but

from the way it was fighting, it was either a big snook or a cobia.  We

never did not get a positive I.D., nor did we get to toss a fly at the

"gummers".  Maybe next time Dave.

Things are red hot now and should continue to improve. 

I expect the fly fishing to get better and better.  Everglades fly fishing

is some of the best.  Rather that be in Naples fly fishing urban areas, try

the Park.  Like Mikey, you will "like it".

The latter part March and April begin the tarpon migration,

the permit season and are the last months of snook season.  This represents

some of the last time our winter guest get to fish before they head back to the

north lands.  There some bookings left for those interested in these early

season fish, but please book early or you will miss out. 

In my opinion, May and June provide the best fishing of the

season.  Those that have fished with Chokoloskee Charters during those

months turn into regular "Choko-holics".  If you would like to book a charter with Chokoloskee

Charters, contact Capt. Charles Wright @

www.ChokoloskeeCharters.com (captwright@ChokoloskeeCharters.com) or

call him @ 239-695-9107.  Tight Lines!

 

More Fishing Reports:

 

Chokoloskee Charters.com and Everglades Kayak Fishing.com is your complete outfitter for fishing Everglades National Park. Fish the Everglades backcountry, the beaches, 10,000 islands, river and wrecks with the most experienced guides in the area. With flats boats, bays boats, offshore boats and even kayak transport boats for our fleet of outfitted fishing kayaks, we can offer a complete, multi-day, fishing experience. Capt. Charles Wright - Fishing the Park Since 1972 Catch the Experience

Contact Info:

Chokoloskee Charters
PO Box 670
Everglades City, FL 34139
Phone: 239-695-9107
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