Everglades report, last week of January 2012
Capt. Bob LeMay
January 31, 2012
Everglades City - Saltwater Fishing Report
The last week of January has been a bit unusual since the mild weather has the fish in the 'Glades behaving as though it were early spring instead of mid-winter... The weather could shove us back into winter conditions but so far it's been very mild (particularly if you compare to the last three winters...).
On Friday I fished Jan Maizler and his friend Don Eichin out of Flamingo. Jan was intent on lots of photos for an article he was doing for Cyberangler so my camera didn't get much action. That day the big fat trout were the stars and the early action was all on topwater lures (the conditions would have been perfect for fly anglers tossing popping bugs...). From the very first cast that day it seemed we were hooked up on trout everywhere we went with many double hookups using Mirrolures. We went on to catch and release mackeral, redfish, too many trout to count, and one hard fighting gag grouper - all on lures in very windy conditions. In the late afternoon the water temps were finally warm enough to hunt big tarpon and we found a few in Whitewater Bay but just couldn't make it happen. As our live baits drifted through where the big fish were holding one of them was hit by what looked like a big bull shark (up inside Whitewater the only sharks you encounter are the bulls since they don't need a lot of salt in the water). After an incredible explosion and an almost emptied spool, Don turned the big animal but a few minutes later was cut off with 200 yards of line to reel back in... The big sharks in the interior are very willing to keep your hooks... Here's a pic of Jan's grouper...
On Sunday I met up with local angler Dave Sanderson along with John Repoza from Rhode Island for a trip out of Everglades City. The plan was to fish up inside working our way to the south with both spin and fly gear. With the mild conditions I wasn't sure whether the fish would be where we could find them and our first spot or two were very slow. John still managed to catch and release a few small snook on fly (these little fish were a good sign for the future) before we got down to business.... While poling one of the upper bays we began to hit an occasional nice redfish, Dave scored first...
and things began to get interesting.
Working small lures, we also began to see very nice over slot snook - some of them real trophies, but every one was on the spooky side. We began to see snook and reds in lots of places - but the only takers were the reds. Here's another one that Dave released...
By this time John put down the fly rod and went to the same light spinning gear that Dave was using (just 10lb line with a light fluoro leader) and scored his first nice redfish...
We went on to catch and release a fair number of small snook, this one by Dave was the biggest....
During the remainder of the day we continued to find really large snook in several different bays, but all were very spooky (and I'm making plans to get back there soon...). Both anglers also caught and released several small goliath grouper (the first little ones I've seen in the interior since that bad cold snap two years ago). They were typical little goliaths, willing to hammer any jig that came their way...
Each one was very carefully released in good condition...
Towards the end of the day we decided to go after some trout to complete a backcountry slam for each angler and so that's exactly what we did... Both Dave and John posted a nice slam as a result. Here's a pic of the last fish we released that day...
If the mild weather continues we'll have this kind of fishing daily in the backcountry out of Flamingo or Everglades City to the west. If the wind will lay down a bit the giant tarpon in Whitewater will be the stars of the show. I'm looking forward to it.
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