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Everglades City, Chokoloskee and Everglades National Park

Capt. Charles Wright
February 14, 2006
Everglades City - Saltwater Fishing Report

March is just around the corner

February is producing some very good fishing, although there are a few very cold days that are challenging (mostly for we anglers). Lots of smaller snook, many good sized redfish and a ton of trout are being caught.

The timing of Hurricane Wilma was bad for other species, however, as the hordes of baitfish normally here were driven off. The species living on this lunch supply did not stick around the sparse kitchen. Spanish mackerel, blue fish, kingfish and cobia were few and far between.

However, March and April signal the return of spring, the baitfish schools and the bigger fish here is Everglades National Park. The trout will be here, the mackerel will return, tarpon show up (actually in the last week of February sometimes), cobia begin there roaming … and most importantly it warms up. The mid-40 degree weather leaves!!!

March also 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 150 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!

We 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, however; sometimes 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.

March and April are great times to take an Everglades Kayak Fishing adventure. Personally, I can not wait. We use the “Yak Attack”, a mother boat, with six fishing kayaks nestled in the bow to transport anglers and gear deep into the Parks core. We are able to fish some very pristine waters in the kayak that are practical unreachable to most. If you have not yet experienced kayak fishing here, you should. It is a blast for the whole family. Each has their own kayak and can fish as much or as little as they choose … Fish hard or fish a little or just paddle around with the youngsters and watch the wildlife … all in trip…everyone is happy.

Tight lines.

Capt. Charles Wright

www.ChokoloskeeCharters.com www.EvergladesKayakFishing.com

239-695-9107

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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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