Flamingo report, 14 November 2023
Capt. Bob LeMay
November 18, 2023
Flamingo - Saltwater Fishing Report
We were lucky enough to get a day on the water just before the flood hit south Florida this week with two very skilled anglers aboard, Abe and Russ. Abe is actually a charter boat skipper himself - working out of Haulover inlet...
After a long run from Flamingo through the interior over to Oyster Bay, we set up and got into a few speckled trout on spinning gear using both leadheads and topwater plugs - the very first fish was a solid 20", carefully released (overslot size..). During the day we hit them at several different spots, keeping a few for the table in the 16 to 18" range. Moving into the "rivers" that drain into the Gulf coast of the 'glades we found one spot holding a few tarpon in a river. Abe jumped a small one on a leadhead - about 25lbs - but we only had him on for a few moments - that first jump, the fish tossed that lure in fine fashion.. A short distance later out on the coast north of the Shark river area we found great quantities of white bait along shorelines and small ladyfish feeding on them everywhere we went. At a nearby river mouth we found a few small redfish for release as well as a one or two very hungry sharks that made long runs before cutting through our leaders... With sharks where there should have been snook, we moved back down the coast looking for grouper since both anglers said they'd like to tangle with a few.
Along the way we hit a point in one of the Little Shark's tributaries and Russ hooked up with a strong fish on a fairly light rod using a leadhead... That fish dragged us around for a bit before coming to hand. It was a nice jack crevalle - and good sized...
We don't find many this size in the 'glades - this one was released in good order for someone else to tangle with...
When we came to our first grouper spot - they were just on fire, holding on a corner of one of the "rivers" (all of them are tributaries of the Shark system - a maze of different channels north and south of the Little Shark river...). Every bait we dropped to the bottom just got hammered. The fish at that first spot would even eat a bait that they'd killed and we dropped it again to the same place. We had at least 13 or 14 bites - and at times double hookups when both anglers were taken to the wall, bringing maybe half of them to the skiff for a release. Here's Abe with one of the larger fish...
All of these were goliath grouper (they seem to have displaced the gag grouper this spot normally holds, understatement) - and all of them are just babies, from ten to about thirty pounds. I figure they leave the interior when they get to about fifty pounds in size - then head out to the markers and wrecks offshore where they get much, much bigger.. When the action (and my anglers) slowed down, we moved to a second spot in another river and found the same kind of action, to end our day -then the long run back to Flamingo. That entire day we only saw one other boat in a round trip of about 60 miles... Just nothing like the Everglades!
As I write this, we're finally getting a bit cooler weather and that should trigger the big migration from the coast back up into Oyster, Whitewater, and Tarpon Bays as well as other interior areas.. I'm looking forward to it. By the way we're even finding these goliath grouper up in very shallow waters for sight-fishing with both flies and lures.. in less than two feet of water in a few places, we're just over run with them now... Check out my homepage on Instagram for lots more photos and current information.. Once our local waters recede a bit I'll also be checking out the peacock bass and other exotics in our local freshwater canals... I've been getting good reports about them before the flood..
"Be a hero... take a kid fishing"
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