Capt. William Faulkner
December 26, 2010
Everglades City - Saltwater Fishing Report
According to the e-mail I received yesterday from CyberAngler headquarters in Miami, it's been 559 days since my last fishing report. And although this off season was a little slower than most, I have managed to fish a few days out of the last 559 ... Ha!!
After last year's devastating fish kill, I was, I guess you could say, somewhat deflated. However, my first boat ride through the carnage four days after the freeze lifted left me with at least some hope; as my first stop found more than a dozen fish over 10 pounds alive and well sunning themselves over some shallow muddy bottom near a creek mouth.
Just a few hundred yards down the bank, we found at least two dozen more fish in the 30 to 40 inch class suspended over the same type of dark bottom near yet another creek mouth. So, perhaps things weren't quite as bad as I thought.
Throughout the rest of the winter and spring,I had good days and bad days. Certainly, it was more difficult to find and catch numbers of snook day in and day out, but there were days when it seemed like the kill might never have happened. All told, I think we manged to boat at least 10 fish over 10 pounds on fly between mid-January and early April, when the tarpon started showing up in incredibly strong numbers!!
In fact, Tucker Bixby and I combined for 14 eats on April 4, and I can clearly recall at least 10 days on which clients hooked more than seven fish!
However, many of the fish seemed to head north a little early and it seemed fewer stuck around this year than during previous seasons, probably due to a lack of forage fish lost in the freeze.
Summer presented a new set of challenges for those of us who, for the most part, depend on our eyes to catch quality snook. In fishing many days with clients and with friends, it seemed the majority of the snook stock was content to stay deep, making it more difficult for the guys with push poles to find and catch them consistently.
On a high note, I can honestly say I've never seen or caught as many redfish as I have in the last eight months either. I'm pretty sure this is due to the lack of large snook preying on juvenile redfish as they begin their maturation process in the many varied terrains of our unique estuary.
What's more? The numbers of upper-slot and oversize redfish have also been a bit bewildering as well! In fact, I've actually had a few days when it was difficult to catch a redfish in the slot while sightfishing.
As far as days spent fishing, this fall was by far the worst I've had in almost 12 years of guiding. Conversely, the fishing was some of the best I've had in a long time too! Big redfish seem beyond abundant from Estero Bay to Cape Sable and some of the more metropolitan areas have supplied great days of snook fishing throughout the late summer and fall months!!
It really was a shame a few of my clients didn't make the trip this fall!!!
So, here we are at the end of 2010, and like last year about this time, I'm sitting here listening to the wind blow 30+ and watching temperatures plummet into the 30s. Luckily, we've had a few warming trends between the fronts that have managed to spare the snook from another dose of euthanasia!!!
In fact, I've been more than pleasantly surprised by the number of really big snook that have started showing up so far winter season. They aren't always easy to catch, but on the right day it's still likely you're gonna' catch a big one or two with me!!
If not, we'll do the smart thing and go fishin' for redfish ... HA!!
Finally, season looks great!!
In fact, my calendar is nearly full for March, April, May and June.
So, if I have any loyal readers left who might be thinking about rekindling the flame, better give me a call soon or we'll miss out on some great fishing this year!!
Capt. Bill Faulkner, Naples
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