Flamingo backcountry 23 July
We started out the day before the sun came up running out of Flamingo to a bait spot in three feet of water. I was setting up as dawn arrived with Jeff Wilkins and his son Lucas from Tennessee aboard, handing each a light spinning rod to work as I put out the chum bag. Jeff's second cast with a bucktail got hammered by a big fish where I was expecting just a trout... Quickly the fish burned off half a spool of 10lb line and showed no sign of stopping. I was barely able to drop the pole and fire up the motor before Jeff was completely spooled. After finally catching up to the fish the battle was on with a fish that still didn't show. Just as I was thinking "shark?" the fish turned into a 60 to 70lb tarpon with a roll, but still no acrobatics... Jeff put as much pressure as possible on the fish and we went at it for another 20 minutes before the line finally popped. I was taught many years ago that I'd have a hard time beating any tarpon that wouldn't jump....every now and then you get a reminder. After all the early excitement it was back to catching bait for the day, a mix of pinfish and pilchards. With a full live well we started the long run back up to the north, planning on coming back through Whitewater at day's end.
We found snook, redfish, another tarpon (much smaller), trout, sharks, and more than a few "unstoppables" the rest of the day. The only snook we got to the boat were on the small side, the big ones just hammered our baits and ripped back into cover. One looked to be about 20lbs, but didn't stay attached long enough for a photo. We ended the day up inside Whitewater for one last slot sized redfish, then back to the inside boat ramp to complete the circle from Florida Bay, through the Shark River into the interior, then home. Here's a few photos from the day...
Here's Jeff's small tarpon before the release, it was about 1/3 the size of the one at dawn...
Here's Lucas with his first redfish, just 1/4 inch over the slot, this one had to be released...
Here's a nice Whitewater redfish, just the right size for dinner...
Fishing at Flamingo will remain good and just keep getting better the rest of the summer - and it will be on fire as we hit the first week of September. That bucktail we used at dawn had a little something extra... Local club anglers have long added a plastic tail or worm to a bucktail for a little extra action. If you make that addition an Exxude curl tail onto a 1/4oz bucktail you've got a lure that's attractive to every fish in summer. I've finally figured out a way to add plastics to bucktails in a way that they'll stay attached... but that's another story.
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.