Fish Everglades National Park & 10,000 Islands
The Beating of
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 -- January 2004)
There can be little doubt in your mind that
January means winter and winter in the Everglades National Park is the time of
opportunity. One day it will be blistering cold, the next it could be in the
80’s. One day it can seem like the bait schools that hold the fish are not even
in this hemisphere and the next a school of bait will come too close and it is
“national geographic moment” of feeding predators. Flexibility is the key to
success in January.
Perhaps the greatest attribute of the Park, the
one that you appreciate the most this time of year, is its vast areas of
sheltered waters. The typical angler can’t always choose to fish when the
weather is perfect. Most of us fish when other obligations allow, when we have
time off or are on vacation. Unlike, most every other fishery in the State,
rarely are you “blown” out because of weather. Because of the Western Park’s
diverse fishing opportunities and its vast amount of sheltered water, you can
almost always find good, sheltered areas to catch fish no matter what the
weather guessers deliver. Don’t get me wrong, when the sparks start to fly with
the summertime thunderstorms, you can be run out of here just as fast as
anywhere, but even in a 20+ knot breeze, you can still catch fish in the lee of
the islands, river banks and creeks. This fact alone makes the area an
January especially is a fun month to fish. If
you are lucky enough to catch a warming trend several days after a frontal
passage, the winds will lie down and the near-shore fishing can be spectacular.
While a tub full of live bait may be preferred, the fishing action on a simple
jig is strong enough to not waste the time hunting bait. These are the days
when being “species specific” simply is not going happen.
The near-shore structure holds Spanish
mackerel; kingfish; cobia; snook; big snappers; permit; sheep head; red, black,
gag and goliath groupers; tarpon; jacks; runners; speckled trout; bluefish and a
variety of sharks. It is very common to catch a dozen different species, all on
artificial baits, during these trips.
It is winter, so you are just as likely to
catch a day with a cold northeastern breeze. On these days, my fair-weathered
fisherman side shows strong. We head up one of the many rivers and creeks to
fish for snook, redfish, small tarpon, trout, sheep head, snapper and drum. The
10,000 Islands area probably has that many islands to fish. Each has a lee side
and each holds its own population of fish.
The creeks and rivers are some of my favorite.
You never really know what you may find. Last January on one of our three day
fishing/camping trips, I was up on of the remote creeks a few hours before
sunset. We staked out in the mouth of one the creeks where it was dumping into
a shallow bay. The wind had been howling close to 20 knots for the previous two
days, but in the creek we were nice and sheltered … coats off.
Throwing a swimming shad tail jig, we boated
over 20 snook, some approaching 20lbs in about one hour. Needless to say it was
quite exciting. One of the anglers with me was a novice fisherman and had never
experienced an area “going off” like this. His hooting and hollering was the
loudest noise for 20 miles!! The fish did not seem to mind.
Just as the snook bite slowed and Hooting Harry
quieted, I was able to hear them coming. Drum! You could here then drumming …
loud and hard. They were moving this way and feeding hard. We sank the jigs to
the bottom and no sooner than we did all three were pounded. We had a blast
with the drum catching fish to 26lbs with the smallest being 13lbs … all on
eight pound spinning gear.
The creeks are a blast, but perhaps one of the
finest trips this time of year is a trip with the whole family to the trout
flats. These trout are plentiful and are the biggest of the year. They readily
eat jigs and plugs, so everyone on the boat can get in on the action … sometimes
all at once. I remember a trip last year with Grandpa, Dad and the three
grandson’s on the boat. At one point they all were bowed up. Grandpa turned to
his son, who was gleaming watching his three sons bring in fish, and said,
“There is nothing like watching your son catch a fish … is there son?” Those
moments are precious.
January starts something new Chokoloskee
Charters. We are beginning a mother-ship operation for the kayak fisherman.
However, instead of paddling for two days to get into an area, you, your yak and
your gear will be transported in and out via the mother-ship to the remote
reaches of the Park. The response has been great so I will likely run the trips
every other weekend …
January can be cold, but at least here there is
shelter, fish and lot more warmth than 99% of the rest of the US! On bit of
advice, do fish the next two months fixated on one species. Be flexible in what
you target, be willing to use artificial baits and you will have a blast and
Call us to Plan Your Next Adventure!
For more information or to book a charter with Capt. Charles Wright: