On new years eve my Dad and I awoke before dawn and headed down to the everglades with guide Jon Sebold. The conditions weren't optimal - a cold front had moved in a few days before and was just beginning to release its grip but we remained optimistic. As Jon weaved us through the mangrove creeks and bays we quickly realized that the everglades is a special place. We saw golden eagles, osprey, kingfishers and a host of other shore birds. We saw dolphin, otter, and of course gators (some gators that made us think twice about putting our hands in the water). Truly, it is an amazing place.
The fishing was good. We had shots at some large snook (one that was in the high teens mybe low twenties), which chased but refused to commit. We caught some small snook, ladyfish and snapper. I capped off the day with a personal best redfish on the fly (10 pounds). A few years have past since my last red and this fish quickly reminded me that they are no walk in the park. Reds in the double digits can pull! Of course, I forgot the camera so no pictures this time.
Everglades fly fishing is a blast. First, there is so much fishy looking water. Second, there is a great diversity of fish. We never knew what was going to eat (unless you were casting at a specific fish). Third, the casting was challenging and fun. We were banging the bank and trying to weave the fly into the small mangrove pockets and in between the mangrove roots - easier said than done. The most successful pattern was an all white EP fly, which I'll post when I tie one up.
A little plug: if you are heading down to southwest Florida and would like to try out the inshore and everglades fishing book a trip with Job Sebold. He is a smart, laid back but hard working guide. His love of the area and the fishing is addictive. Now, I haven't fished the area much but I can't imagine that many other guides know the everglades as well as he does. You'll have some fun, catch some fish, and learn a few things along the way.
Watch out for the coming fly post.