The fishing has been slow. There are some red’s and snook. No tarpon. This morning’s weather report calls for even more wind tonight but conditions improving over the weekend. I have a new opening in the schedule, June 5, through 9. I also have open dates later in June, after the 22nd, I can fish a day or two between May 4, – 6, as well.
March 30, 2006
March 27, 2006
It was bad at daylight. Northeast winds at 15. The new moon tide was so low, running south this morning, we went aground a half mile off Turtle Key. Like a Googan. No other boats on dawn patrol, just us, we saw three or four other boats all day, it’s an eerie, almost lonely feeling, running way out there in the wind and in the gray light, twelve inches of water, giant wading birds walking the flats a mile offshore, the sun rising.
John and Tom, sightfishing red’s and snook with fly rods, all day, from Lostman’s to the backcountry, they caught a bunch of snook and red’s. Bitch Lake has some Mysterious Properties, big red’s lurking in the weeds. We finished with something like 9 snook, and 5 red’s, largest red, 28″, and largest snook, 33″.
March 26, 2006
Things looked grim this morning. A Walloping Cold Front, coupled with a twelve degree drop in water temperature and winds forecast from the north at twenty. Perfect for fly fishing. You never know what the day will bring though, John McMinn and Tom Harding finished the day with a nice small tarpon about twenty pounds, a couple of chances at others including a big one and a bunch of snook including a Hog Mama of about thirty inches that John teased out from under a bush with a perfect cast into the shadows. Tomorrow is looking grim too. Yahoo!
March 23, 2006
Back to the shop today, fuse panel self destructed. The good news is; we don’t have the trolling motor yet. But we do have the new Yamaha, 60 horse, fuel injected four stroke with the magnum lower unit, turbine ingested bio-filter and a giant 3 blade, custom fitted, state of the art, jet propelled, NASA designed wheel, and of course, nanno-titanium heads. During the third shakedown with the second propeller today, just me and a full tank of gas, I reached 36.2 MPH. The scary thing is, I could have gone faster if the water had been calm. I used the obligatory shakedown to check a half dozen tarpon spots, as far north as Faka Union. There are a few tarpon out there, if you’re willing to pole for miles for a couple of shots. They’re big, though. A big low pressure system overhead right now, no rain. High winds forecast. Gulf temp about 77 degrees. I just got a report of a massive migration down south. Giants. Stay tuned.
March 20, 2006
It’s good not to be on the water this afternoon, SW winds at 25 MPH. That’s not necessarily bad in the Big Picture, it brings in warm water. It pushes up mud, too. Tarpon remain the highest priority. Herbal Tee is in the shop, I’m landlocked. We’re getting a new Yamaha, fuel injected, 60 horse four stroke with the large lower unit and a three blade, high performance prop. Better (worser,) acceleration, higher top speed. Lose it in the hole. Oh well. It translates to longer range when the weather is calm, when the best fishing is. An LCD water temp. display on the console and a trolling motor, starboard transom. Trailer lights. Looking ahead to bonefish this Summer, in Biscayne Bay.
March 17, 2006
Dan Newman on the foredeck, perfect weather for tarpon hunting, light onshore winds, high barometer and heat. We tore around the Islands on dawn patrol trying to find some active fish. They were in Gemini’s. We used the “Dreaded Eight Weight Billy Baroo,” a twenty pound tapered leader fastened to a fifty pound flouro bite with a Slim Beauty. It took an hour and a half of quietly poling through the surges of adrenaline that engulfed us every time we moved a fish but we did it. We hooked a Giant. When she jumped, over and over, other tarpon would jump out of her crashing place, scatter in every direction like quail, Giant Tarpon! Dan got her to the boat in forty three minutes. About a hundred and thirty pounds. No camera, yet, Nikon is repairing it for free, maybe next week. (March 19, In my excitement at battling the first Giant of the season I neglected to report that we landed a fifty pounder later in the day on the same rig.)
March 16, 2006
Gus Morriss has had the foredeck for the last couple of days. Yesterday we searched for rollers at daylight, had some shots at moving fish and one perfect chance at a giant sleeper, well over a hundred pounds. In the afternoon we went to the Black Lagoon to fish for snook. Pushing into a narrow throat between two ponds we fell upon a frenzy of feeding tarpon. They were feeding on nearly invisible things. Maybe glass minnow larvae, maybe they were cannibalizing megalops leptocephali, it is the full moon. Using our smallest flies we struck five, jumped two that spit the hook, and finally landed one, in the boat, tarpon on fly, Everglades Style. She was eight and a half inches long and taped out at, by the square root standard, to 6.8 ounces.
Today we fished down south. We poled through the secret spot on a low moon tide, riding the last of the outgoing current through the swashes and casting to the fishy spots. We reached the mouth at the bottom of the incoming tide and spent probably two and a half hours on that big flat, where it enters the Gulf, just poling really slowly up onto it with the tide. We tried to stay in about ten inches of water. When this place is cooking it’s amazing, at one point we were surrounded by numerous sawfish, all sizes, there were various sharks swimming by, sting rays, stingrays with redfish on their backs, stingrays with snook on their backs, lots of wandering, solo, red’s and snook. Every fish we got a close look at had remoras on it, even some of the mullet. Gus finished up with a half dozen snook and a red but, at the end of the day, we felt that the catch was incidental to the show we saw. Manatees, dolphin, alligators, swallow tailed kites, eagle rays, one white butterfly.
March 10, 2006
Bloated, Angry Curmudgeon. Built like a Beach Ball, Lovely White Skin Like a Halibut. Totally Grey Hair, Moustache, (might sacrifice for the right woman,) Cotton Clothes. Tends toward the shaggy side when left alone but can wear a black tie with the right partner, under a Blue Moon. Seeks, 41 year old female PHD candidate in Marine Biology with an emphasis on tarpon morphology. Must be easy on the eyes. Woman’s world record tarpon on fly a secondary issue. Previous experience with a fly rod a plus, but not necessary, if you’re willing to learn. Yielding to obsession of greatest importance, as long as it’s healthy, or at least doesn’t hurt anyone else. PLTR.
March 6, 2006
A half dozen chances at Giants this morning. A couple of rollers at daylight, and then sleepers! We had several fine chances at laid up fish but couldn’t get one to take. There is no blitz, it’s an unstable number of early arrivals. And not that many, only a few places, in Gemini’s, The Place We Stole From Doug, the Careening Multi Java Cove, and Fuller’s Bay. I’ve been watching Lostman’s, Boundary Bay, the Choke Hole, Pearl Cove, Your Brother’s Favorite Cove, Your Bay, My bay, Denny’s, East Bay and Bitch Lake. I’m looking forward to the full moon on the 14th and I’m also watching and ‘listening,’ for tarpon down south, Shark River and Ponce De Leon Bay.
For me, snook have been scarce and hard to catch, we see a few and some of them are big, but encounters are way below previous years, for me, that is, I’m sure the ‘Good Guides,’ are slaying them as usual, chumming the creeks and killing some legal breeding snook. Except, we sighted one, laid out in the sunshine in a tarpon cove this morning, she was forty inches in my humble estimation. We tried a cast, but, statistically, a snook like this has probably been caught nineteen times already and has probably had enough. Alas?
The redfishing can be good at the right moment in the tide, we caught one 27 inches a couple of days ago, you can get your shots.
There are few things that excite the imagination of tarpon hunters in Everglades like the arrival of Spring after the perplexing transition of winter. In Florida, you’re always asking yourself, “Is this a season?” There are signs that a seasonal shift is taking place though, if you care about such things. First there is the arrival of the sea turtles, then the brown eyed butterflies, then we begin to see eagle rays, an increase in shark activity, angel fish fanning at the surface, the first few tarpon muds we poled over on those windy February days on recon, sand flies begin to eat your eyelids, someone spots the first swallow tailed kite, probably the most graceful bird in the Everglades, “A dismal swamp full of ugly birds,” someone swats a mosquito at the dock in the morning, big snook are beginning to lay out in the sunshine with the tarpon, manatees are blocking the channel, the white butterflies arrive and it’s time to call the Bee Keeper to get this nest out of my house!
March 4, 2006
We struck two Giants yesterday. We need to let them have the hook for a second, try not to be too anxious, too quick, hopefully they will turn, and the massive weight of the fish will set the hook for you. Just tighten up and hold on! … Oh well. Reel it up, let’s try to find another one.
John Frazee sighting and landing a tailing red this morning, 27″. Snook are scarce, we spend some part of every day checking for tarpon.