Fish Everglades National Park & 10,000 Islands
Yak, Yak, Yak in the
Light Tackle and Fly Fishing in the Pristine Waters of the Everglades Backcountry
Over one million acres of sheltered waters, excellent year round weather,
fine accommodations, a richly diverse fishery ...
(Woods-n-Waters -- Feb 2004)
February in the Everglades
National Park can be absolutely awesome. This time of the year that it seems
something is always pulling on your line, but you never know what it may be.
February means the “Winter Mix”.
The grass flats are alive
with loads of trout, ladyfish, bluefish, jack crevalle, baby groupers and
Spanish mackerel. Every oyster bar holds redfish, snapper, sheep head and the
occasional black drum. The islands are garnished with all these species plus
resident juvenile goliath grouper and snook.
The traditional popping cork
and shrimp is a sure way to full day of action on the grass flats. With a piece
of shrimp, fished on the bottom near the oyster bars and islands you can count
on fish. But, a light colored buck tail jig worked slowly on the bottom is hard
The fish are plentiful in
February, so deciding where to fish is perhaps the hardest part of the trip.
But it is February and it can be cold and it can be windy; neither of which am I
particularly fond of. So for me, February is the time for the backcountry.
With a pocket full of jigs,
jerk baits and small plugs, or better yet, clousers minnow flies for the long
wanders, you can count on some great snook action. February is the time when 15
snook can be a disappointing day and days when over 50 are jumped are common.
But, perhaps the best way to
do the backcountry, anytime of the year, is with a properly outfitted, fishing
kayak. They are extremely stable, easy to paddle and deadly silent. There is no
stealthier way to fish the shallows for snook than in a yak. It is one of the
fastest growing segments of the sports fishing industry. Few know about it and
fewer have done it. The fishermen who have experienced it know what an
extremely effective fishing platform that the outfitted kayak really is.
There is great fishing
within an easy paddle of all the launch sites in Chokoloskee with more islands,
passes, oyster bars and bays that you can fish in several days’ time. The Park
is an extremely vast fishery of sheltered waters and natural beauty. The
Wilderness Waterway alone covers 99 miles of some very productive waters between
Chokoloskee and Flamingo. Seeing and access this fishery by a fishing kayak is
something very special.
However, the multi-day
paddle needed to get to these prime areas is more of a commitment than most have
the time for. For most, we use a mother ship to transport the boats and gear to
these productive fishing grounds. The paddling is basically limited that
required to get to and from the mother ship and the “fishing hole” … less than a
few hundred yards in most cases.
maintains a fleet of State-of-the-Art, Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 kayaks
completely rigged and ready for the fisherman. On your next trip to our fishing
paradise, I would encourage you to try one of our outfitted fishing yaks.
Whether you rent one on your own, take a guided fishing trip or catch a ride on
the mother ship, the experience could very well change your fishing lifestyle.
The Mother Ship schedule is
posted on the website. Seating is limited to six on the schedule trips, but
anytime that you have group of three or more anglers, we can fire her up!
On a recent
mother ship trip we fished the Lostman’s River area. A few anglers had to
cancel at the last minute, so there were only three of us. We loaded up in
Chokoloskee about 8:30 and headed south about 25 miles.
We put out
twice, once to fish the rising tide and once to fish the falling. The first
drop, we fished a small bight on the outside, sheltered from the light easterly
breeze. We were pretty early in the tide so the water was quite shallow. My
intentions were to be in place when the bait and the redfish moved in. The “cup”
of the bight was a bit slow, John Ehrlund, Premier Cabinets in Ft. Lauderdale,
hooked a couple of reds and other a few ladyfish.
positioned the boat at the end of our paddle (about 3/8’s of a mile away from
the put out) and paddled back towards the point of the bight to meet the guys.
As I came around the opposite side of the point, the glass minnows were already
beginning to spill around the corner. Lady fish and jack crevalle were in them
pretty good, so the point should be very good.
out of Orlando, was the first to hookup. He boated and released a nice 24”
redfish. Minutes later, I did the same with a twin of the first fish. Tom was
fishing a buck tail jig, something he apparently, does not use very often.
Those who fish with me know exactly what I was throwing. John got a slow start,
until he switched baits… very soon he was in the mix also. John and Tom pulled
out eight reds, along with a stray sheep head … surprisingly, no snook. We were
fishing the glass minnows, so we had to fish thru the countless lady fish and
Tom was not in
a yak this trip. He brought along his Hobie Float Cat. Rigged with a trolling,
motor, anchor, rod holders, tackle basket and the kitchen sink, he was really
set up for fishing. Tom travels seven states in his work and this little beauty
calls the top of his SUV “home”.
slowed, we loaded back into the “Captain Morgan” (a.k.a. the Blue Bird Daze),
ate some lunch and eased down to Lostman’s River. We pulled into a little bay
just as the tide was beginning to fall. We were after snook this drop. Tom
power “paddled” to fish a nearby trough and shoreline. John went straight for a
pair of islands surrounded by oysters. After positioning the boat, I paddled up
to a little creek mouth. John was first to score with another redfish and a
sheep head. My first cast into the mouth of the creek produced a small snook.
The next 20 casts, however, produced about the same number of ladyfish and
jacks. Tom had it tough with but a few fish.
I called the
guys back and sent them down a small pass that I had pointed out as we moved
into the area. I had put us out upstream, upwind of this area. This little
pass is a haven for piles of snook … most of them slot sized. We had timed the
tide perfectly as the guys entered the pass.
The hot area in
this pass is just out of sight for me. Jjust before the guys moved out of
sight, I saw John hookup. They were in them! I had visions of grandeur and big
smiles, so I loaded back in the boat to reposition on the downstream side for
emerged, there were big smiles, but no snook!! John caught redfish, sheep head
and trout. Tom said he released six different species in less then 200 yards.
All-in-all, a good trip, but the big snook would have to wait for another day.
Call us to Plan Your Next Adventure!
For more information or to book a charter with Capt. Charles Wright: