Flamingo at Christmas, 13 December
<p>Yesterday the conditions at Flamingo were a lot better than we expected... The morning winds were a lot less than predicted and it was mostly fair weather all day. This is the time of year when the 'Glades famous mosquitoes are just gone, I didn't have one bother me in the pre-dawn conditions as I set up the skiff for a day running the backcountry. Local angler Dave Sanderson and his friend John from Rhode Island were looking forward to a day on the water with a mix of fly and spinning gear. Our first stop was at a trout spot in Whitewater Bay and from the first cast of the day the fish were eating everything we offered in the way of small lures and flies. We were kept busy cast after cast starting with small jigs with Gulp tails and then with the fly rod and a small maribou streamer. Time after time they were doubled up and if a fish pulled free another one would take its place before the rig moved another ten feet... A few were shorts but most were slot sized fish up to about 18" (they'll get a lot larger in coming weeks). Here's a pic of John's first trout on fly...
We could have stayed at that first spot all day, but left them biting as we ran west out towards the Gulf coast. Up in the rivers and along the coast itself it was once again trout everywhere we fished along with jacks, the occasional mackeral cutoff, and ladyfish too numerous to count. In places where a hook got bit by a lady it was routine to hook and jump off two or three in one cast... Since the ladies are forage for every big fish in the 'Glades, they'll be fattening up every snook, grouper, tarpon, and shark all winter long... We did make a point of fishing one or two of them into two different grouper holes but didn't get any takers. I'd guess that the tide just wasn't what was needed so we quit using any bait and went back to artificials.
We switched over to working a few redfish spots starting out on the coast and working our way back inside. We found good numbers of small reds along the coast then struggled a bit as our first two spots back up inside Whitewater found low water and no fish as we poled quietly along several different shorelines. The only exception was one or two downed tree spots that held both small reds and feistly small snook. Dave released a backcountry slam (trout, reds, snook)... John just kept on catching reds... Earlier that afternoon he did catch and release our best redfish of the day... One look at the color of this redfish and you'll know it was found back up inside where the redfish have that lovely copper brown color... Here's a pic or two...
The color on that 1/8oz jighead is my absolute favorite for inside waters when you're going to be using a Gulp tail along with it. Since I produce them I'm able to choose the color and hook size that really works best for us. This red was caught on 10lb line with a 30lb fluoro leader in less than two feet of water. A very nice light tackle catch and release.
This type of trip will be daily fare now for the next month or two (except when the big tarpon are inside...). Beginner or expert (like Dave and John) Flamingo is the place to be now. It's also a great place to take a kid (or kids) fishing.
Shameless plug department.... If you have a favorite angler that you need a gift for - I do Gift Certificates every year for fishing trips. Give them a gift that can be used any time in the following year, call me if interested.
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.