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Everglades City, Chokoloskee and Everglades National Park

Capt. Charles Wright
November 4, 2006
Everglades City - Saltwater Fishing Report

December Everglades Forecast

November and December in South Florida’s Everglades National Park are a time of transition. The summer pattern ends with the end of the daily afternoon rains and thunderstorms.

With the end of the rainy season and the general cooling in November, the water clarity improves dramatically. The flow of stained, tea-colored, nearly fresh water that drains from the Everglades backcountry during the rainy season slows allowing the salinity of the waters to rise.

Being in the sub-tropics, the area is a very rich and diverse fishery. During extreme of water conditions, however, some species do better than others. We fisherman must adapt our fishing patterns as well.

The low salinity conditions of the summer drive many of the small bait fish, aggregately called “white bait”, away from the shoreline areas. Many of the predator species follow. Speckled trout are a prime example. In the spring and early summer, speckled trout are everywhere near the shorelines and flats. In the mid-summer, you have to follow the bait “offshore” to find good quantities of fish. This may only be 2-4 miles from the shorelines, but it can be an extremely important few miles!

In addition to the rise in salinity, several other factors combine to make November and December a time of change and opportunity in the Park. By the end of November, the average air temperature drops with the passing of a few cool fronts. Accordingly, the water temperature also drops.

The concentrations of small micro-organisms that are so prevalent in the warmer months die off in the cooler months. This reduction of zoo-plankton and algae, combined with the lower amounts of stained backcountry runoff means the waters clear up very fast.

Throughout September and October we have some of greatest concentrations of redfish and snook. They are primarily eating finger mullet as most of the whitebait is gone. As the rain ends and the salinity again raises the whitebait return in massive schools. Returning with them is a entirely new set of predators.

Be it the drop in salinity, the cooling of the water, the clarity of the water, the return of the whitebait or the arrival of the “cool weather species”, November and December present new opportunities.

November and December are great times for fishing the Park for juvenile tarpon … “poonettes”. Timing is very important with these fish as they tend to be in certain areas to feed only at certain times. Once you figure out their patterns, however, they can be fished reliably. Topwater … topwater … topwater.

Usually by the second “hard” cold front of December, the big snook move off to deeper water. Fishing the near shore structure can be very productive if you catch these fish at this little oasis in their migration offshore. If you miss the snook, fear not, these little pieces of fishing heaven hold snappers, groupers, Spanish mackerel, sheep head, cobia and kingfish this time of year

In the clear waters of the outside of the islands and river mouths (and the inside backcountry, as well), sight fishing is the name of the game. Snook and redfish alike will lay up waiting in ambush at the lowest of the tides. Small bait fish stream out of the mangroves forced out by the falling water. Be very careful as the tides can fall extremely fast this time of the year and leave high and dry a hundred yards from the waters edge. But time it right, and you can catch a lot of fish in a short period of time.

Flies are best, but top water plugs, jerk baits and very shallow running baits are in order to get these fish out of the six inches of water (many times less!). This shallow water fishing is the realm of the shallow technical skiffs and even more appropriately the fishing kayaks. It is wonderful thing to see a 12 pound snook laid up in the shallows, pole over to her and watch her take a top water lure in six inches of water. It can change your life!

Just about every weekend in December and January, we will be doing our “open” Yak Attack trips. These trips are open to anyone but limited to six guests. You can count on a great experience with others who enjoy fishing as you do. The Yak Attack has six completely outfitted fishing kayaks nestled in her bow. We comfortable and quickly transport the kayaks, our guests and all our gear to a remote location in the Park.

Very near to our fishing location, we deploy the kayaks to fish. These are great trips for the whole family as we concentrate on fishing “action” spots. After a shore lunch, if conditions merit, we load up the yaks and move to a different area to fish the afternoon. With the Yak Attack, there are no long paddles … you just have to paddle far enough from the mother boat to get to the fish!

If you have not tried one of these trips, December, January and February are a great time to do so. This year we have outfitted the Yak Attack with Heritage Kayaks Redfish 12s. They are not the fastest crafts in the water, but they are extremely stable. They were selected primarily for their stability … so stable that you can stand up and sight fish in four inches of water!!!

December in the Everglades City/Chokoloskee Island area of the National Park is a blast. Everything is here!

(PS – Beginning in November we are changing our drawing for a free fishing trip from a quarterly to a monthly event! Remember, however, that you must re-register on the website for each drawing … Good Luck!)

Tight lines.

Capt. Charles Wright

www.ChokoloskeeCharters.com 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

Contact Info:

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