Backcountry report, 27 Dec to 2 January
<p>The last week of the year had us on the water four out of seven days down at Flamingo. This is typical winter backcountry stuff with redfish, trout, and snook just about every day in shallow coves and protected areas. Winter cold fronts shape our fishing now, with weather that ranges from very good to just plain bad depending on where the fronts are at the time. A week ago with a hard front approaching we (five boat charter that day) fished in just plain bad weather - winds howling out of the west/northwest at 25 to 30 miles an hour. Surprisingly every boat caught fish, but getting there and back wasn't much fun for anyone. The backcountry of the Everglades always has sheltered places to fish, but that day we were at about the limit of what's possible to do safely... The next two days the cold weather had us re-setting bookings to allow things to warm up a bit (with frost warnings for Monday/Tuesday night that turned out to be a very good idea).
The weather got reasonable again and by Wednesday we were back on the water. My anglers that day were Steve Cox from Arizona and his 82yr old Dad. During the morning we did a lot more fishing than catching until Steve hooked a slot sized snook on a jig. He fought the fish all the way to the boat but it slipped the hook just as I held the leader. That fish was hooked in 52 degree water.... and we hooked at least one a day the rest of the week (more about that later). We finally found a nice redfish corner back up inside Whitewater Bay in the afternoon and it was non-stop action for several hours. We started off with small reds on lures and bait (shrimp under a cork), occasionally hooking two at a time. Just when it looked like we were only in small fish, Steve's Dad hooked a large fish on the lightest rod on board (with 10lb braid on a bonefish rod) and the fight was on. After a lot of back and forth (in poor health, Mr. Cox couldn't stand up and fished from his seat that day) he caught a trophy, a 30" redfish that weighed 12lbs on the Boga scale.
Here's a photo....
After a photo or two and a careful release we tried to find a few more fish at that spot. Within just a few minutes they had on a double of slot sized fish. Here's the results....
and a great end to the day (water temps at dawn were still only 46 degrees...and only came up to about 53 degrees by late afternoon in the interior)
On Thursday I fished with Josh Luce and his two kids. As things warmed up a bit from the day before we found lots and lots of trout and redfish biting everything we tossed their way from lures to bait. By day's end we'd caught and released at least forty small reds, forty trout (some as big as 20"), and another nice snook.
Here's a few pics....
Yesterday we were back at Flamingo with local angler Andre Beach along with Mike and Joe Morobitto (their first time in the backcountry) and it was more of the same. Lots and lots of small trout, along with ladyfish, redfish and even a nice sized snook. Here's a few pics....
Young Joe, age 8, and his first big redfish, a solid keeper on a light rod.... Joe darned nearly outfished everyone.
Lots of slot sized fish along with one snook that wouldn't stay on long enough for a photo.
This was the hot lure yesterday, a Gulp 4" mullet tail on a 1/8oz jig head. Andre worked it slowly and just cleaned up with it...
Now for some predicting... The current good weather will hold until at least Thursday with conditions warming every day. Since water temps were at about 63 degrees yesterday afternoon, we might see some giant tarpon in Whitewater by then...Our next front breaks in on us Thursday night and the conditions might be good again by next Sunday.
Capt Bob LeMay
About The Author: Captain Bob Lemay
Company: Captain Bob Lemay Fishing Guide
Area Reporting: Biscayne Bay and Flamingo
Bio: Capt. Bob LeMay began his south Florida fishing career almost thirty years ago. He has worked for area tackle shops, mated on charter boats, but the highlight of those early years was winning the Lauderdale Billfish Tournament in 1973 with two anglers who had never fished for billfish before!
By the end of the seventies he was guiding part-time and tying flies commercially. In 1995, he began guiding fulltime. Through Umpqua Feather Merchants his fly patterns are now sold in shops around the world and in catalogues like LL Bean and Westbank Anglers.