I got back from Southwest Florida over a week ago and have been too busy with work and family stuff to get to the computer to share my experience until now. We arrived in Naples, Florida early in the day with enough time to stop at the local fly shop http://www.mangroveoutfitters.com/ to pick up some leaders, fishing licenses, flies, and some Mangrove Outfitter gear. My cousin and I always like to support a good fly shop by representing their logo. After we gathered some other supplies: beer, potato chips, bread, and some deli meats for the next weeks lunches we headed back to our place where we studied the google map over a beer and discussed the plan for the first day of fishing. Since the last time I was down in Florida my dad heard about a place with land-locked tarpon, snook, and even some largemouth bass. At least they’re land-locked most of the year. During summer months the rain and high tide floods these lakes and gives the fish access to and from the gulf. Which is how they got there in the first place. Regardless of how they got there I was anxious to get there and show ’em some flies. So, day one we headed to these lakes to get the skunk out right away so we could relax the rest of the week knowing that we caught some fish. Before I tell you about how we did I’m gonna give you an idea of what is going through our heads as we park the car right next to a panther crossing sign….. snakes, gators, panthers….. The list of things that can cause serious injury to you just seems to go on and on in the everglades, and we had to bushwack through a quarter mile of overgrown trail. Anyway, we made it to the lake alive and did ok. I caught one of the biggest snook of the trip in the first hour of the first day.
There it was… my first snook on a fly! taken on a deceiver style fly that I tied for the trip on the first day of fishing! After releasing the fish Chase and I saw a tarpon roll in the middle of the lake. We made some cast to where we saw it and there was no response. I switched up to my 10wt rod with intermediate sink tip line to get my fly deeper. A few cast later and I felt and aggressive strike! As soon as I had pressure on the fish a silver streak came flying out of the water in front of me once, than another time, than took almost all my fly line, and on the third jump the tarpon spit the hook! Chase and I were so impressed by the fish’s strength, especially because he was only about ten pounds, that we didn’t seem bothered about the fact that the fish got away. We simply looked at each other in amazement with big grins on our faces. That was the last of the action we saw at that lake for the day. We continued on at the same beach I had caught the pompano and mackerel in the spring time. Only the fishing was much different this time. No pompano or mackerel, but snook cruising by right in the surf every couple of minutes making a meal of the weakest baitfish. Before I even got a shot at a fish I looked to see chase with a bent rod. These school sized snook were stronger than they look and always gave you a couple jumps.
Chase continued to catch these smaller snook on the gummy minnow while a tried a few different flies. Eventually I got one to work.
There will be more to come from both chase and I on our Everglades adventure when we get back to the computers.