View Full Version : Everglades backcountry fishing report

12-11-2006, 09:46 PM
This past week the fishing was up and down, if the weather was good so was the fishing. My anglers ranged from novice fly fishers to experienced backcountry anglers. Although we had a few tough days when the weather was just howling, when it calmed down a bit the fishing was just great. The best day last week found John Blazer, from Tampa and his dad Jim Blazer casting lures on light tackle at snook, reds, and trout. John caught and released a solid 13lb snook on 8# spinning gear and a small lure. It was an outstanding catch on light tackle, and after a few photos was carefully released to fight another day. We went on that day to release another 20 snook, 30 to 40 trout, and a half dozen reds without ever leaving Whitewater Bay....

Fish are now pretty firmly set into winter patterns, but we still found some surprises, including a 50lb tarpon that attacked a jig right next to the boat along a Gulf-side shoreline.

A few days earlier we caught and released more than 20 small fish on the same small popping bug. It was tied up on one of the relatively new soft foam heads from Wapsi Fly. After more than 20 jacks and ladyfish the bug was still in perfect condition... Those fish were tearing up small bait along a series of shorelines and were great fun on a light fly rod.

As we move toward the Christmas holidays, other possibilities will arrive. Any day now the first winter shrimp run in Biscayne Bay will turn on the small tarpon there. When that happens the night fishing for tarpon that average between 20 and 40lbs will be available night after night. The fish will be right at the surface making for hot action with a fly rod. Standard gear for the night tarpon is an 8 or 9wt rod with an old floating line (concrete pilings are hard on fly lines) In a few days I'll be after them with the first night booking of this winter. I'm looking forward to it.

Tomorrow it's back to Flamingo.

12-12-2006, 11:34 AM
Bob, do you know of any companies in that area that rent houseboats and flats skiffs? A group of us are thinking that would be a slick way to spend a week in the 10k Islands. Thanks...


12-13-2006, 06:25 AM
The houseboats at Flamingo were totalled by the last hurricane and for a variety of reasons won't be replaced anytime soon, if ever... That said there's a few "mother ship operations" out of Naples or Everglades City to the north and I believe Marthon to the south. I'll try to find out for you and post it here. What used to be available at Flamingo were houseboats and small open runabouts that aren't quite flatsboats but could be fished out of. The mother ship outfits are guided deals and aren't cheap.

For anyone interested here's the situation at Flamingo currently (Flamingo is all there is in Everglades National Park, Everglades City and Chokoloskee are at the extreme northwest end of the Park)... Hurricane Wilma totalled out the cabins, the Lodge, and the restaurant at Flamingo. The campground (with no RV hookups), the marina store, the gas pumps, and both boat ramps are up and in good condition. The concessionaire still rents out canoes, kayaks, and small, very underpowered tri-hulls. A year after Wilma we just started talking about what to replace everything with... The Park won't make any decision about what to do until next August. I'm guessing we won't have any accomodations or restaurant down there for another few years at best... Once it's decided what to do, the Park Service will have to go to the Interior Department and ask for money. Not an ideal situation. The nearest accomodations for my anglers are at Florida City which is 50 miles away. As a result, I'm also guiding out of Everglades City where there are plenty of places to stay and restaurants. The ony drawback there is that it's a good ways west of Miami... I'm one of the lucky guides since I'm used to towing long distances from one ramp to another. Some guys are having to re-build their businesses since they were closely tied to Flamingo and weren't doing any advertising at all. Of course compared to Louisiana and Mississippi we don't have any problems at all.

By the way the houseboats at Flamingo were owned and operated by the concessionaire, Xanterra. They just gave notice and now the Park is looking for a new concessionaire to operate all the facilities at Flamingo. That should be lots of fun with the very reduced income down there now....