Fish Everglades National Park & 10,000 Islands
March is a “Slam Month” in Everglades
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 ...
in February has been surprisingly good. It is winter, however, the real
hard cold snap have made things a challenge at times. We have seen some
nice catches of snook with most of the fish small. Lots of trout, lots of
mackerel and lots of ladyfish are the rule for these days. Few tarpon were
hooked in February, although there were some very good days. Redfish remain
pretty strong, but the cobia are hit and miss.
In my eyes, February signals the end of
winter. Everglades City has it’s annual Seafood Festival the first weekend
of every February and for me, that is the last wintertime event.
Everything that happens from that point forward leads up to our fantastic
fishing spring and summers. The whole month of March is the kick-off of
the real fishing here in the Park.
First and foremost, the baits return in mass
to the shorelines, bays and near shore structure. This whole fishing thing is
about food. We use lures that simulate dinner to the predators. A whole school
of bait can attract and congregate hungry fish into finite, predictable areas.
They can be patterned easily by patterning the bait.
At the Seafood Festival, you can find great
seafood … all kinds … lots of it. That is why about 20,000 people show up for
the feast. The seafood festival for the predatory species is the arrival of
the March bait schools. As with the festival, the fish that are going to feed
well and they are going to have a “big time”. So am I!
means the return of the permit. Schools of fish, hundreds in numbers, show up
roaming the live bottom and structures. They are hungry, aggressive and stupid
… my favorite fish!! Averaging 15-18lbs these fish will make a 200 hundred yard
run on the first hookup. I just love the look on an angler’s face when she
looks back at me after looking at the line ripping from the reel wondering how
she is going to stop the freight train on the end of her string! I fish these
terrific fish on eight pound spinning outfits or fly. You must be patient
however, because it usually takes 35 minutes before you can pose with these
fish. In March, anglers commonly release four to six fish per day. The real
problem is leaving the fish alone long enough to fish for the other species.
March also is “rung in” with the tarpon
dinner bell. The big fish move in from offshore this month following the
forage. Most importantly, they stay here all spring, summer and fall. March
also means that are in the tarpon that are in the deep back country move out to
the river and creek mouths to feed on this fresh supply of bait. These are
smaller versions of the big boys that are moving in from offshore. Actually,
these are my favorite fish to target. They feed well, jump often and everyone
gets a shot. Once you have done your 100+ pound Silver King, try a 30-50 pound
Silver Prince on eight pound gear or, better yet, a fly rod. Be careful,
however, it can be addicting.
March snook fishing can be red hot, but
somewhat unpredictable. The fish that have been hiding in the back move out
through the creeks into the bays and shorelines in search of new forage. One
day you will catch 25 fish and the next day four. It is March, but still early.
the new flood of permit, tarpon and snook, cobia are nearby, the sharks begin to
show, trout are almost always ready to feed on flats and the redfish seem to be
bigger. Catching a tarpon, snook and redfish in the same day is a Backcountry
Slam and March is “Slam Month”. Through the years, more of my anglers slam in
March than in any other month.
March truly signifies the beginning of some
great fishing. BUT … it is March. The wind in March can blow hard.
Unfortunately, it blows hard everywhere in the country. Here, March can come in
like a lion, stay like a lion and leave like a lion. The fish are there;
you know that they are there, sometimes however; you simply can’t get to them
because of the wind.
Thank goodness for the Park’s massive amount
of backcountry. With over a million acres of pristine, protected waters there
is always a comfortable and (usually) productive place to fish. It is a great
destination for the traveling angler. You simply do not get blown out here.
However, the back country is massive and can be quite intimidating. It is
always advisable to get with someone who knows the ins and outs of the place.
kayak fishing trips are going well and have been a blast for all. February's
trip were not record setters by any stretch. On one trip, Vickie and I
paddle very deep into the mangrove canopies and found some very big snook ... we
did not catch them, but we found their lair ... next time, we will time things a
bit different. Check the website for dates of the scheduled trips. The spring
trips are booking up fast. It looks like we are going to be doing a lot
more of these in the fall. We use the larger boats to haul the kayaks to
the fishing grounds and with the “yaks” we fish where others simple can’t. This
is a new venture for Vickie and I and this is our first March. Personally, I
can not wait. Keep an eye out in this column; if things go as planned, you will
soon see a photo of a 100+ pound tarpon in the lap of one of our kayak anglers!!
If you have not yet experienced kayak fishing here, you should.
Also, South Florida Sports Fishing Magazine
is about to publish a series of articles on Kayak Fishing. I have just
proofed the copy. As usual, they did a great job on the layout. Look for the magazine on
most Florida magazine racks, but you can get a subscription at
If you would like to book a charter with
Chokoloskee Charters, contact Capt. Charles Wright @
or call him @ 239-695-9107. Tight Lines!
Call us to Plan Your Next Adventure!
For more information or to book a charter with Capt. Charles Wright: