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Capt Bob LeMay

Everglades action, 20 Sept

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On the water out of Flamingo three of the last five days, mostly fly fishing... The pics will tell most of the story and, as expected, things are certainly heating up along the Gulf coast of the 'Glades.


You've got to get going long before daylight to see the coast at dawn...


since it's a 21 mile run to the west coast from the ramp at Flamingo...


With very skilled local angler Cass Sumrall aboard we started off the day with popping bugs at small to medium sized tarpon. The darned fish blew up the bug on more than one occasion but never managed to eat the thing, so that was it for popping bugs. A quick change to a Silhouette and Cass was hooked up to a 30lb fish on an 8wt rod...


He beat the fish handily but it didn't pose for a photo and we were on the hunt for bigger fish..


Running south along the coast we encountered a large school of jack crevalle - all from 10 up to 30lb fish and circling slowly like they were in spawning mode. Cass had several bites before hooking up but it was the smaller fish that were quickest to the fly....


with this fish a small one you can imagine how big the larger ones were...


We went on to find much larger tarpon but never managed a bite and all the action slowed to a stop at midday....


The next trip had local angler James Banta aboard and again it was all catching and releasing with fly gear. That day the tarpon pulled a disappearing act most places but we still managed a variety of species on fly, including snook, redfish, trout ( all on the small side), ladyfish, macks, jacks, etc. This time of year the spanish mackeral are hungry enough to eat popping bugs (if they don't cut you off in the process...).


catching macks on the fly is lots of fun if you don't run through all your bugs trying...


Yesterday it was time for a father and son team. Young Charlie Hughes with his Dad, local pastor David Hughes, both looking for a big tarpon. At 11 years old it would be Charlie's first big tarpon, his Dad would be using the fly rod - and we had a great day. After quickly catching bait while watching big fish rolling all around us we got down to business. The young angler (all 76lbs worth) was set up with 20lb spin and a live bait on a 6/0 circle hook. In the first hour we went through almost ten baits with a few tarpon bites but many, many shark hits, losing our share of hooks in the process. Charlie finally hooked up with a big fish and it was off to the races...


with David on the camera.


Young Charlie did it all, and never let up on a fish that was much bigger than him. After about 20 minutes he had the fish to the boat for a leader and photo. I estimated the fish between 90 and 100lbs...


and that's David holding on for the photo... you can see the circle hook right in the center of the upper jaw.

A few minutes later a revived fish was released carefully.


Next up was David using an 11wt rod and a great big black fly..... He jumped one fish that didn't stay attached, then hooked one solidly and we were back in business.


That fish, estimated between 70 and 80lbs really put on a show with lots of long runs and air time. I was a bit busy and missed pics of the fish in the air but did manage one good father and son type photo at boatside...


All in all it was a great day, young Charlie also caught and released several small redfish, a seven foot lemon shark, and we had big bites from grouper that just tore us up but didn't stay attached long enough.....


To end the day we made one last try for a slot redfish and here's the result...


a very nice Whitewater redfish that was just a little too big at almost 30 inches... it was Charlie's first big red and a great way to end the day.


In the next five to six weeks the fishing is going to keep getting better, if that's possible...


Tight lines

Bob LeMay

(954) 435-5666











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Great report Cpat Bob. Do you regularly make the run to the west coast from Flamingo, or jsut at certain times of year? It seems like an awfully long haul, but looks well worth the trip

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The area accessible from Flamingo is so large that many learn to work (or favor) just a portion of it.... This time of year the best fishing lies in two directions - "out front" to the south into Florida Bay where there's miles and miles of very shallow waters and the target is large schooled up redfish mostly (and you need a skiff that floats pretty shallow...), or all the way across west to the Gulf coast north and south of the Little Shark river, miles and miles of creeks, rivers, and bays in a mangrove jungle setting where large numbers of giant tarpon are gathering to gorge along the coast before that first cold night in October sends them back offshore. If you choose to run to the west you've got your choice of an area that's 20 miles east to west and 40 miles north to south (from Lostman's River all the way south to Cape Sable). In a few short weeks the fall migration will begin and very gradually fish along the coasts will begin to move back inside for the winter where the water is a bit warmer. When that happens the action inside will shift much closer to Flamingo, that's when Oyster and Whitewater Bays begin to load up with bait and the trout, snook, redfish and others that will follow them inside... At the beginning of the wet season in late May the process will reverse and the fish will move back outside...


You could fish out of Flamingo all your lifetime and only two things would be certain.... the first is that you'd never learn all there is to know about it, the second is that no two days are the same - ever. Every day I'm there I'm towing my skiff almost 100 miles each way and it's worth all the effort. Since hurricane Wilma in Nov of 2005 the only facilities at Flamingo are the marina with gas pumps, marina store (where they rent canoes, kayaks, small motor skiffs, and houseboats), two boat ramps (one for outside, the other the interior side), and a campground. The restaurant, motel, and cabins have never been replaced so you're in a commuting situation each day with the closest motels 50 miles away in Florida City.....

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Thanks for the great info Capt Bob. I fished out of Flamingo a few times as a kid but we always stayed on south in Florida Bay. The drive was long but wasn't too bad. Really beautiful area, one of the few spots of Florida unspoiled by development and never will be. My father-in-law used to fish a lot out of Everglades City up on the northern west coast end of the park, we are still hoping to get down there at some point. He did tell me that if you don't know your way around you could very well end up sleeping in the mangroves.

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