Albieaddict

Schooled in the Everglades

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Last week, I spent a week camping in the backcountry fishing for off-season tarpon. The trip was a resounding success... in the sense that we had a fantastic time and the weather was incredible for November.

 

But, we got schooled. Badly. By what seemed like a nearly endless number of tarpon.

 

Let me paint a picture. We were staked out in an area that was 5-11 feet deep, with rolling fish coming through in a near-constant flow for about four hours. Most fish were rolling once, then we would never see them again. I would say we had strong shots at fish every 15 minutes, but we also had a fish rolling by the boat every minute. Enough where blind casting seemed like a very effective technique, which we did with sinking lines and floating lines the entire time we were fishing.

 

I am not confident that any of the fish we were throwing at even saw our flies. The rolling fish would come up, roll hard, and sink back quickly. The only chance of verifying that we put a fly in front of a fish would have been an extremely lucky blind cast that just happened to land in front of a roll. The fish were moving too quickly even while blasting quick, short casts at fish. 

 

Is there any effective way to fish this situation other than patience and continued blind casting? We fished large flies, small flies, fast retrieves, slow retrieves... the list goes on. All of it felt hopeless with the dirty, stained water and lack of true tarpon shots. We ended up touching one fish on an accidental dead drift, but even intentional dead drifts later were ineffective. 

 

Here's a pic of our backcountry setup. Thank god we went with a tent this year as opposed to our usual hammocks... there is not much blood left in my body from all those mosquitos this year.

 

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Happened to me in Fl., we even near the end of the trip resorted to bait, but still no luck.  Water was muddy brown, I don't think they saw or cared for what we were throwing, we used everything from Fly, spinning, and bait.  Nothing, good luck.

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Guides will come of with a million reasons why - water too clear, water too dirty, wrong moon, not getting the fly half an inch from their nose, wrong fly, wrong retrieve, barometric pressure rising/ falling....blah blah who the hell knows. 

 

In my experience, you just have to wait it out until they are ready to eat and hope that you are there when it happens. Then out of nowhere you will jump 10 in half a tide.  A lot of tarpon fishing is watching perfectly happy fish swim right by you and your offerings like you are not even there.  Just have to wait for the right ones swim by and then stick your fly in exactly the right place.

 

Catch any snook? were the mosquitos bad?

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I only fished once in the everglades with a guide and I was successful with one Tarpon on the fly landed and one other take, but didn't set the hook hard enough. We were looking for what you saw, rolling fish. It meant there were tarpon around. The guide, Bob LeMay, had me fishing an intermediate clear line. He likes to be able to fish specific depth and with an intermediate line I would count down different depths to get the fly deeper or higher. We fished where the fish were rolling. The fly I hooked up on was not especially large or small, about a 3-4 inch white deceiver style, not weighted. The retrieve was a long medium to steady strip with a tug of the wrist at the end of the retrieve. Then repeat till the fly was at the boat.       

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This is all making me feel better - thanks!

 

No snook, we actually have not done a lot of fishing for species other than tarpon. I would be very interested if anyone had any off-season advice for fishing for other species. I will be down in Islamorada sporadically until May and would love to press the reset button on chasing tarpon 24/7 like we have done every year.

 

Any general information about redfishing, snook fishing, etc would be hugely beneficial, especially as it pertains to cold fronts (before/after). Home base is Islamorada, but I would not be opposed to long runs or drives back to the Everglades or even trailering north/south just for a change of scenery. 

 

The mosquitos were next level bad. Like, worst night of sleep you could possible have bad... even inside a tent. Just the constant buzzing around our ears was enough to drive you nearly insane.

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i just got back from 3 days in the everglades.. it was very good.  Mostly targeted snook which is so much fun.  Got 1 big tarpon and maybe 7 tarpon in the 5lb-10lb range.

 

will put up a report this week

 

 

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In Flamingo, we like to use a shrimp tipped jig for snook and reds. If unsure of a spot put on a whole shrimp and a Cajun Thunder with a hookup jig head. Use a 30 pound test leader size it for the water depth. If that doesn’t work after 5-10 minutes move on. The colder it gets the deeper back they go. 

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"Guides will come of with a million reasons why - water too clear, water too dirty, wrong moon, not getting the fly half an inch from their nose, wrong fly, wrong retrieve, barometric pressure rising/ falling....blah blah who the hell knows."

 

You forgot the most common one...."that A..H... that ran his boat by right by us (1/4 mile away)

 

Albieaddict.....altho the 3000 mile distance is limiting, my fragility of my brain when exposed to the frequency of female mosquitoe's wings would guarantee I could NEVER be there then, I would b curious as to general area.  You could PM me.

 

The unfortunate reality is that most anything moving in the water sets up vibrations that INTERESTED fish can pursue and find the source.  Visibility has less to do with it than most people assume.  I have caught trout, every cast, on small nymphs, in water that was more mud slurry than water.  But......for the fisherman, at least me, going fishing in low visibility water (like the glades much of the time) feels going out for a tan and lying down when the cloud cover is 100% and thick.  Whaaaat?

 

But.......the staining of the glades water is less the factor in visibility than the mud quotient of the Florida Bay water....which is determined, these days, more by the recent wind.

 

I have found times at the mouth of the Shark River when one could easily spot poons in 4-5 feet of water.  But it is a rare event.  Sometimes it is the last of the outgoing as the deepest Glade water is coming down, and other times it is on the incoming when FL Bay water has visibility.

 

I feel your pain.  But look at it this way.  You could have been stuck playing golf for a week instead.

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9 hours ago, Peter Patricelli said:

"Guides will come of with a million reasons why - water too clear, water too dirty, wrong moon, not getting the fly half an inch from their nose, wrong fly, wrong retrieve, barometric pressure rising/ falling....blah blah who the hell knows."

 

You forgot the most common one...."that A..H... that ran his boat by right by us (1/4 mile away)

 

Albieaddict.....altho the 3000 mile distance is limiting, my fragility of my brain when exposed to the frequency of female mosquitoe's wings would guarantee I could NEVER be there then, I would b curious as to general area.  You could PM me.

 

The unfortunate reality is that most anything moving in the water sets up vibrations that INTERESTED fish can pursue and find the source.  Visibility has less to do with it than most people assume.  I have caught trout, every cast, on small nymphs, in water that was more mud slurry than water.  But......for the fisherman, at least me, going fishing in low visibility water (like the glades much of the time) feels going out for a tan and lying down when the cloud cover is 100% and thick.  Whaaaat?

 

But.......the staining of the glades water is less the factor in visibility than the mud quotient of the Florida Bay water....which is determined, these days, more by the recent wind.

 

I have found times at the mouth of the Shark River when one could easily spot poons in 4-5 feet of water.  But it is a rare event.  Sometimes it is the last of the outgoing as the deepest Glade water is coming down, and other times it is on the incoming when FL Bay water has visibility.

 

I feel your pain.  But look at it this way.  You could have been stuck playing golf for a week instead.

The man's avatar says it all.  Always love your perspective Pete, thanks for hanging around.

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On 11/12/2018 at 5:29 PM, Cpalms said:

Guides will come of with a million reasons why - water too clear, water too dirty, wrong moon, not getting the fly half an inch from their nose, wrong fly, wrong retrieve, barometric pressure rising/ falling....blah blah who the hell knows. 

 

In my experience, you just have to wait it out until they are ready to eat and hope that you are there when it happens. Then out of nowhere you will jump 10 in half a tide.  A lot of tarpon fishing is watching perfectly happy fish swim right by you and your offerings like you are not even there.  Just have to wait for the right ones swim by and then stick your fly in exactly the right place.

 

Catch any snook? were the mosquitos bad?

This ^^ 

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On 11/13/2018 at 5:02 PM, Albieaddict said:

This is all making me feel better - thanks!

 

No snook, we actually have not done a lot of fishing for species other than tarpon. I would be very interested if anyone had any off-season advice for fishing for other species. I will be down in Islamorada sporadically until May and would love to press the reset button on chasing tarpon 24/7 like we have done every year.

 

Any general information about redfishing, snook fishing, etc would be hugely beneficial, especially as it pertains to cold fronts (before/after). Home base is Islamorada, but I would not be opposed to long runs or drives back to the Everglades or even trailering north/south just for a change of scenery. 

 

The mosquitos were next level bad. Like, worst night of sleep you could possible have bad... even inside a tent. Just the constant buzzing around our ears was enough to drive you nearly insane.

Have any Alligator issues?  When I fished Flamingo, FL in the Swamp, My kayak attracted a pretty large one.  Creepy feeling! 

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