Everglades City, Chokoloskee and Everglades National Park
Capt. Charles Wright
February 20, 2004
Everglades City - Saltwater Fishing Report
March is "SLAM MONTH" in the 10,000 Islands
March is a “Slam Month” in Everglades National Park
in February has been surprisingly good. It is winter, however, the real hard cold snap have made things a challenge at times. We have seen some
nice catches of snook with most of the fish small. Lots of trout, lots of mackerel and lots of ladyfish are the rule for these days. Few tarpon were hooked in February, although there were some very good days. Redfish remain pretty strong, but the cobia are hit and miss.
In my eyes, February signals the end of winter. Everglades City has it’s annual Seafood Festival the first weekend of every February and for me, that is the last wintertime event.
Everything that happens from that point forward leads up to our fantastic fishing spring and summers. The whole month of March is the kick-off of the real fishing here in the Park.
First and foremost, the baits return in mass to the shorelines, bays and near shore structure. This whole fishing thing is about food. We use lures that simulate dinner to the predators. A whole school
of bait can attract and congregate hungry fish into finite, predictable areas.
They can be patterned easily by patterning the bait.
At the Seafood Festival, you can find great seafood … all kinds … lots of it. That is why about 20,000 people show up for the feast. The seafood festival for the predatory species is the arrival of
the March bait schools. As with the festival, the fish that are going to feed well and they are going to have a “big time”. So am I!
March means the return of the permit. Schools of fish, hundreds in numbers, show up roaming the live bottom and structures. They are hungry, aggressive and stupid … my favorite fish!! Averaging 15-18lbs these fish will make a 200 hundred yard run on the first hookup. I just love the look on an angler’s face when she looks back at me after looking at the line ripping from the reel wondering how she is going to stop the freight train on the end of her string! I fish these
terrific fish on eight pound spinning outfits or fly. You must be patient however, because it usually takes 35 minutes before you can pose with these fish. In March, anglers commonly release four to six fish per day. The real problem is leaving the fish alone long enough to fish for the other species.
March also is “rung in” with the tarpon dinner bell. The big fish move in from offshore this month following the forage. Most importantly, they stay here all spring, summer and fall. March
also means that are in the tarpon that are in the deep back country move out to the river and creek mouths to feed on this fresh supply of bait. These are
smaller versions of the big boys that are moving in from offshore. Actually, these are my favorite fish to target. They feed well, jump often and everyone gets a shot. Once you have done your 100+ pound Silver King, try a 30-50 pound
Silver Prince on eight pound gear or, better yet, a fly rod. Be careful, however, it can be addicting.
March snook fishing can be red hot, but somewhat unpredictable. The fish that have been hiding in the back move out through the creeks into the bays and shorelines in search of new forage. One day you will catch 25 fish and the next day four. It is March, but still early.
With the new flood of permit, tarpon and snook, cobia are nearby, the sharks begin to show, trout are almost always ready to feed on flats and the redfish seem to be bigger. Catching a tarpon, snook and redfish in the same day is a Backcountry Slam and March is “Slam Month”. Through the years, more of my anglers slam in March than in any other month.
March truly signifies the beginning of some great fishing. BUT … it is March. The wind in March can blow hard. Unfortunately, it blows hard everywhere in the country. Here, March can come in like a lion, stay like a lion and leave like a lion. The fish are there; you know that they are there, sometimes however; you simply can’t get to them
because of the wind.
Thank goodness for the Park’s massive amount of backcountry. With over a million acres of pristine, protected waters there is always a comfortable and (usually) productive place to fish. It is a great destination for the traveling angler. You simply do not get blown out here. However, the back country is massive and can be quite intimidating. It is
always advisable to get with someone who knows the ins and outs of the place.
The kayak fishing trips are going well and have been a blast for all. February's trip were not record setters by any stretch. On one trip, Vickie and I paddle very deep into the mangrove canopies and found some very big snook ... we did not catch them, but we found their lair ... next time, we will time things a bit different. Check the website for dates of the scheduled trips. The spring trips are booking up fast. It looks like we are going to be doing a lot more of these in the fall. We use the larger boats to haul the kayaks to the fishing grounds and with the “yaks” we fish where others simple can’t. This is a new venture for Vickie and I and this is our first March. Personally, I
can not wait. Keep an eye out in this column; if things go as planned, you will soon see a photo of a 100+ pound tarpon in the lap of one of our kayak anglers!! If you have not yet experienced kayak fishing here, you should.
Also, South Florida Sports Fishing Magazine is about to publish a series of articles on Kayak Fishing. I have just
proofed the copy. As usual, they did a great job on the layout. Look for the magazine on most Florida magazine racks, but you can get a subscription at
If you would like to book a charter with
Chokoloskee Charters, contact Capt. Charles Wright @
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
PO Box 670
Everglades City, FL 34139
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