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Tiger Key Fishing Report

Capt. John Kumiski
April 20, 2019
Everglades City - Saltwater Fishing Report

Tiger Key Fishing Report

A blessed Easter to everyone. Thank you for reading this Tiger Key fishing report.

Three of my book titles are now available for five cents each, only from my website.
-Flyrodding Florida Salt
-How and Where to Catch Redfish in the Indian River Lagoon System
-Fishing Florida's Space Coast
Shipping is still $5.95 each. The mailers cost money, the post office wants a cut, and the mail boy has to bring the package to the post office. But you can have each of these titles delivered to your door for six bucks until June 15. Act now!


Last week I wrote- "Thursday loaded up the expedition kayak (Ocean Kayak Prowler 15) and went to Spruce Creek, which is not much of an expedition." Monday I took it on an expedition, maybe short, but an expedition none the less. Drove to Everglades City, leaving mi casa at 0400, arriving 1000. Self-issuing camping permit in hand, I loaded up the boat with food, gear, and tackle (fly only) and paddled eight miles out to Tiger Key.

The wind was honkin pretty good out of the northwest and the water, near the top of the tide, was riled up. I did not see any fish other than black mullet on the way out, and did not get a bite after setting up camp. Did not hit it hard, was fairly drained from all the travel.

I could not help but notice the army of fiddler crabs, way more than I've ever seen anywhere. Why is nothing snacking on them?

Beautiful weather! No bugs! Southeast wind made fishing the outside of the islands the thing to do. Cast right off the campsite before breakfast or coffee, getting two small jacks and two small ladyfish on the synthetic minnow. Would have liked something sexier but these days be happy with what you get, John!

After a quick breakfast bite went boating- not far! Saw a place that said, Fish here! So I did. Second cast garnered a strike, a snooklet. Released him after a quick photo and went back to casting. A few casts later hooked a snook that was four pounds, maybe a little more. He went through the #20 Seaguar. Put on an Electric Sushi, 2/0.

Before the bite stopped there I'd gotten a redfish (small) and 10 or so trout in the slot. Spent the rest of the day hunting for fish that I didn't find. There was no bait anywhere. Saw a single snook on top of a bar, did not get a shot. Saw one shark on the same bar. Blind-cast in places that screamed, Fish here! Did not touch a fish all day until I went back to the morning spot, where a half-dozen more trout fell to the Sushi fly.

After supper got another jack fishing by the campsite, for a nice circular ending to the day. Stayed up barely long enough to see some of my favorite constellations, tough under an almost-full moon. Slept well.

Thinking that the outside didn't work too well, went looking inside. Had a low outgoing tide to start, perfect for hunting shallow bays. Those bays had a few black mullet and the tiniest of fry minnows and nothing else.

The only birds around were ospreys. There were no ibis (didn't see one in four days!) and very few herons or egrets. No bait, no birds, no fish. I'm going back to where I got the fish yesterday.

Once there I had the same conditions as the previous day. Again, a snooklet attacked the Sushi fly almost immediately. A while later I got another. A while later I got another rat red. Then nothing. I stayed longer than I should have, hoping the trout would show. They didn't. I hopped in the boat and went hunting again.

I worked another point real hard and again got nothing until a flounder took pity on me. It wasn't much of a fish, but it was a fish.

Deciding a picnic on Picnic Key would be appropriate, I paddled over there. The beach is long and beautiful. The sun was high, the water clear. I walked toward the far end, high on the beach, hoping to spot a snook or redfish.

When I got to the far end I reversed field. To my amazement, where there was nothing a few minutes earlier there was a fish. But it was almost bright green! What was it?

I cast too far in front. Hoping the fish would move toward me I let the fly sit there. The fish was not moving. When I tried to recover the fly it was discovered it had found a root. Pulling it off the root did not bother the fish, but it did bend the hook. While straightening it I broke the barb off.

The next cast landed a foot in front of the fish. He immediately came over to check. One twitch and BAM! It was a houndfish. He almost beached himself when he jumped, a pretty spectacular 1.27 seconds. Then the barbless hook came free. I suspect they're hard to hook anyway, what with the bony beak.

While I was picnicking a guide boat with four tourists came to look for shells and whatnot. The captain was a crusty Chokoloskee Island native, knew Edgar Watson's son. While we chatted he said something which was pretty obvious to someone who's fished Florida for very long- "There sure ain't as many fish as there used to be."

I checked three more islands, saw a single redfish on two big stingrays. Did not get a shot.

The day was getting old when I went back to my "spot." A few trout had come in, got a half-dozen to three pounds. One, once hooked, came in, did not fight until I tried to grab him. Then he thrashed like crazy. "Fish, please don't do that, you'll attract a shark." No sooner did I release him than a six foot bull swam by a rod length away. It wasn't a soil-your-shorts moment but it could have easily turned into one.

This evening had no breeze. The no-see-ums were a minor annoyance. I didn't use bug spray once the entire trip, choosing in this instance to retire early.

Got up at first light, had breakfast, broke camp and packed up, paddled back to Everglades City, getting there at 1000. Loaded up the chariot and drove home, thinking about no ibis, no gulls (NO GULLS), no bait, can I go to a planet that's not being ravaged please?

That's this week's Tiger Key Fishing Report! Thanks for reading!

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2019. All rights are reserved.

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Enjoy thrilling Orlando fishing! Experience tarpon fishing, redfish fishing, seatrout, snook, and more. Sight fishing and fly fishing on Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River, and Banana River are specialties. Over 20 years experience. Fish by skiff, canoe, or kayak. Book your trip now!

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