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Everglades City, Chokoloskee and Everglades National Park

Capt. Charles Wright
March 20, 2006
Everglades City - Saltwater Fishing Report

Spring has Sprung!!

While the arrival of winter was welcomed this year after the misery of last summer’s hurricanes, I was sure glad to see Old Man Winter leave.

Late this February, the tarpon arrived on cue and provided a great distraction from the snook, redfish and trout. Most of the fish were full grown, triple digit sized dinosaurs. My anglers found few of the smaller poon-ettes that I like so much.

The Second Annual Everglades Kayak Fishing Paddle-In was a great success with 61 kayaks participating. Vickie’s bratwurst and conch chowder was a hit as expected. A few caught snook and redfish, but most everyone caught a pile of trout.

Trout fishing in March was excellent with many 50 fish days. The redfish were consistent especially for those fishing the “smelly” baits like the Berkley Gulps. However, the snook in the creeks rained supreme. Fishing out of the Yak Attack, kayak anglers release 38, 52 and 47 snook in three consecutive days.

One trip, while the yak anglers were tied up catching snook busting on small creek minnows, I sneaked off for a bit of discovery. The tide was very low this morning and in parts of the creek, I literally was using my paddles as a mud pole. Each paddle stroke was about three inches in the mud. The back of the kayak was dragging bottom (time for a diet!!) so, you can imagine, how low the water was. When I looked back, it look like a giant turtle had passed down the middle of the creek with a pile of mud (from the paddles) aside a center streak of diverted mud from the yak’s keel. I was in too deep turn back.

I made the trek about 600 yards to a little area where the water deepened to about 20-22”. “Smack”!!. A nice snook popped some baits on the surface. I took a close look at the area and it was very clear what was going on. Four little mud bays emptied into a convergence area and then flowed into this little deep pocket. Literally moments before I heard this first surface strike, I had noticed the tide switch directions.

I used my paddle to stake out the kayak, angled the kayak with the anchoring trolley so I could make easy casts down this little pass and then changed my leader. I only had 30lb fluorocarbon with me and I had caught a couple do smaller fish before I paddled off. It was already chaffed

I tied on Old Faithful, a 3/8 ounce Cotee jig head with a three inch gold swimming shad tail. I cast up stream as far as I could. Slow retrieve, jig, jig, jig, SLAM!!! … First cast; first bite. A couple of minutes later, I had nice 32-33” fish along side, but my leader was trashed! I was lucky to get her to the boat. I looked back over my shoulder to see if I could see some of my guest to wave them in … no one was in view.

I retied, made a second cast … jig, jig … slammed again, this fish was substantially bigger! It raced up the pass about 25 yrds. Right towards a brush pile … decision time … palm the spool or take my chances in the pile… with only 30 lb leader, I palmed it … I stopped the fish, fought it back to within 15 feet of the boat and off it went again … back to the brush… I palmed again … Twang!!! The leader gave way.

I retired and tried again. My third cast produced another big fish and the same end result. In fact, the next four fish twang me off. I was out matched with the 30 lb. I had to step up the gear and get my anglers. I left the fish biting.

As I paddled across the mud into the main creek where the others were, I saw the rest of the crew a ways ahead of me paddling away! However, I was able to attract the attention of one of the fifteen year old sons who was lagging behind. At my coaxing, he followed me back to my new little hot spot. I put him in position, rigged him with 50 pound leader and watched.

His first catch produced a nice 33” snook. After releasing this first fish and convincing him to retie his leader, he hooked up a second. I left him fighting the second fish to check on the others. He landed six fish over 30” from that spot and was definitely the big fish; big rod for this day.

Fifty-two snook were released that day from the five anglers in the kayaks … I have not been back there since, but sitting here writing this recalling the day, guess where I am going tomorrow with my group of kayak anglers!!

April leads into May. That is when the biggest of the snook and tarpon move in to stay. Redfish, trout, cobia and everything else become “incidental by-catch” to these two species. Snook average 12-17lbs and the tarpon approach 100. Anyone of these trophy fish can “make your day”. Catch it from the yak and you have a memory of a life time.

Using the Yak Attack, we transport up to six fishing kayaks to some of the most remote areas of Everglades National Park. We set up near the fishing area and deploy the kayaks. Long paddles are not part of the day! May is great time for the yaks … big fish and predictable weather make excellent trips.

May is also the time we start our inside/outside trips … fishing inside in the morning, for snook, reds and tarpon and outside in the afternoon for cobia, permit and grouper. I love April and May!!!

Tight Lines!!!

If you would like to book a trip with Chokoloskee Charters, contact Capt. Charles Wright at 239-695-9107 or email him at CaptWright@ChokoloskeeCharters.com For more info look on the web … www.ChokolokeeCharters.com or www.EvergladesKayakFishing.com

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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

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