Florida Trip Report.... so so results - Fly Fishing Forum
Bonefish, Tarpon, and other Obsessions Turquoise water, silver demons on the fly

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Old 03-21-2011, 08:19 AM
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Florida Trip Report.... so so results

Had 3 weeks to explore Florida. It was all DIY on foot!

First week I was in Marathon in the Keys.
Wind was strong at 25-30 most of the week. I waded every flat I could find but never saw a bonefish. One fellow I met said he caught a small one blind casting. Some of the Keys flats are huge and I am sure someone who knows what they are doing could find fish.

Second week was in the Everglades:
Found several spots where I saw Tarpon rolling all the time but they wouldn't bite.
I would get Snook which saved the day but really wanted those Tarpon.
Met a great fly fisher and John could not have been kinder to me. Showed me spots and said I was doing everything right but they would not bite. He hit two 10 to 15 pounders early in the week and saw an 80 pound fish follow his hooked baby tarpon. Without making excuses, some mornings when I started out it was in the low 40s....brrrr but once the sun came up it always warmed way up.
Don't know if the cool temps put the Tarpon off.
Surprised a big gator sunning himself when I was walking to a Tarpon spot...we both ran in different directions!!! The next day he was there again but would not run! I fished around him but kept an eye on him all the time...

Third week spin fishing (sorry I was desperate) the beaches from Naples up to Bonita Springs.
Along the beaches you could catch all the Spanish Mackerel you want... including one I caught that was big enough to impress even the locals....that felt good.
Also many Ladyfish, small Jacks and Snapper.
Met some great folks from all over and it was fun to see one of their kids catch a big Sea Trout on his fresh water swimming plug!
If you fished live Shrimp or Pilchards you would score many more fish including Snook and Shark on the beaches.
I saw Snook ghosting in the shallow water 2 or 3 feet from the shoreline but they were too skittish to hit.
At the end of Bonita Beach if you go beyond the jetty there is easy access to a back water area that would be great for a fly fisher. Locals said it was still a bit early in the season.
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:27 PM
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Still better than working.......
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:32 PM
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Yes

You are correct Steve.... it does beat working...hope I didn't come across that I was whining...even on the worst day I was happy to be out there trying...

One other note... always get a Florida SW license... I was not checked in the Keys nor was I checked on the SW coast but I was stopped FOUR times in the Everglades.

The officers were always polite and I told them I understood they were only doing their job and was totally respectful.... As a result a few that liked fishing gave me some great pointers... a win win!
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Old 03-21-2011, 04:01 PM
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Thanks for the reply. Been there and done that way too many times.

I'll be in the Englewood Beach area in a few weeks, trying mainly for beach snook. Hopefully, there will be baby tarpon around, too, as well as sea trout, jacks, ladyfish, and the usual suspects.

Conditions are something you just can't predict. Last year on Captiva we had strong winds the whole time I was there. Totally ruined the fishing.

I get my salt water licenses on line. I remember fishing a closed area of the Ding Darling refuge (I didn't know it was closed; I saw people fishing 100 yards away and the wading was easy), when an officer came along and asked to see my license. He informed me I was fishing in a closed area, but, seeing that I was licensed and from out of state, he just asked I respect the closures, which, of course, I did. Before he drove on, he told me, quite specifically, where a really good sea trout "lagoon" was off a very obscure trail head. Win Win, as you say.

Cheers,

Eric
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Old 03-21-2011, 04:17 PM
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Good luck

Good luck Eric

I fished a bit south of Englewood according to the map.

The most northern point I fished was Bonita Beach...

Have you fished Englewood Beach before... my assumption is that the whole SW coast produces at the right time of year under the right conditions.

Snook in the surf line is exciting... like bonefishing in a way...

Have a great time and share your experience with us when you get back... may help others learn a bit for their trip
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:11 PM
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Hey, Frank,

Yeah, I fished Englewood Beach several times, the last two have been poor following a severe red tide, which wiped out the bait in that end of the sound, and then the big freeze hit. Five years ago, it was great -- lots of different kinds of water to fish. This year, I especially want to try for reds in Lemon Bay.

Something very exciting and enjoyable was the night dock fishing (when the wind wasn't blowing). There must be a couple of dozen docks (maybe more) and just about every one had snook and bluefish hanging around. On a few docks, the misanthropic owners had strung wire between the pilings; sort of like hazards on a golf course, I guess.

Anyway, can't wait to get back there.
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:25 AM
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A bit more

Regarding the big freeze in Florida last winter.

I heard more locals telling me that the spots I was fishing once held many more fish.

They were all complaining that the stocks were severely diminished by that freeze.

Must have been a nightmare to see your favorite game fish destroyed by the cold.

Looking forward to your report Eric. Hope you have great weather and good fishing in Englewood. Would be good to learn some new spots to try when I go back to Florida.
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Old 03-26-2011, 03:32 PM
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Frank,
FRARKED again ? Solution: I know a great place inTC that you, I my wife and perhaps a guest of yours may be interested in. Email/PM if interested.
Search "Ocean Harmony/Abaco"......great guy and have stayed there 4X times....
chip-in for a a car.....head in the right direction...BBQ on on the patio....Does it get better ?????? and the Gin is cheap !!!!!!!!!
Mark
Looking at late Nov/early Dec............
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:21 AM
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Hey Mark!

Great to hear from you....
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Old 03-29-2011, 12:04 PM
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Glad to hear you finally got into some good fish the last week. Who cares what kind of tackle you caught them on? Fishing is fishing. I enjoy fly fishing more than other ways, but I still love to throw spinnerbaits and Rapalas to largemouth. Surf casting at night with bait for stripers is also great fun.

Thanks for the report.
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