Winter Wonderland in Flamingo

The recent fishing adventures I have experienced in the past two months in Flamingo have been absolutely amazing to say the least. The fishing has been excellent with countless inshore slams and the beautiful cool mornings and warm afternoons have been an added bonus to the action.

On 1/29 I targeted Black Drum and Redfish and we absolutely slayed them. We landed a dozen Black Drum to 20 pounds and also caught 8 Reds and had a monster Snook break our hearts at the side of the boat. The ticket for the Black Drum is a large shrimp on a 1/4 to 3/8 ounce jig head depending on current and depth. I prefer a bright color such as Chartreuse or the undeniable Bright Pink. The fish are hanging in areas of solid current flow and aren't aggressively chasing artificials. You will lose a couple rigs fishing live shrimp directly on the bottom but it’s just part of the game.

On 2/1/12 I was with a returning client and friend Bernie. He is from Philadelphia and primarily fishes offshore for big Tuna and billfish. He had never caught any of the inshore species besides Sea Trout which he referred to as Weakfish, so I wanted to focus on landing him as many species as I could and that’s exactly what we did. The first bite of the morning was a mini Snook, which I have been catching consistently and is a great sign for the fishery. The next bite would be a beautiful 31 inch Linesider that fought like a 45 incher in the strong incoming tide. We landed this fish and continued to catch small Reds and several worthless Sail cats. I moved around to another area I was hoping to produce a nice Black drum, and it did. My boy Bernie hooked up and fought it like a pro. We finished the day catching 20 inch Sea Trout and Redfish on jerk baits and my client was satisfied and ready to head back to see the wife. He tallied up Goliath Grouper, Gator Trout, Redfish, Snook, Black drum, Ladyfish, Spanish mackerel and several Jack Crevalles as well as the annoying Sail cats. I think we put a big dent in his list of fish he hasn’t caught yet.

On 2/6/12 I decided I wanted to target some more Snook and Redfish so I headed to some areas that have been producing some great fish. We worked some deeper runoffs on an outgoing tide and produced a few respectable Snook and smaller Black Drum. After the tide slowed we moved to a creek mouth and I free lined a 1/4 ounce hookup jig head with a chunky Shrimp and it got hammered by what turned out to be a 37 inch Snook. After fighting it for 15 minutes on a 3000 Shimano Sustain we landed this big girl, which I estimate to weigh about 20 pounds. This Snook reminded me of the large spawning females I catch and release during the summer in the Sebastian Inlet. We finished the day working some Gulf shorelines and managed a few more Snook and Redfish along with some chunky Trout.

Last week I was in the East Central region in the small town of Sebastian. I planned on focusing on some large Trout holes I have located over the years of fishing this specific area of The Indian River. Unfortunately, the weather had different plans for me. The winds blew 20-25 all week but I still managed my share of Reds and Trout off the leeward shorelines. The Trout were small as were the Redfish but I still enjoyed my time in this beautiful area. If anyone from the south region was looking for a getaway from the hustle and bustle of South Florida I would highly recommend The Indian River and Mosquito Lagoons. These fisheries offer huge Trout and some of the best sight fishing for Redfish and Black drum in the state.

On 2/29 I was back in my own personal paradise Flamingo. The weather was expected to be perfect and we were excited about returning to our favorite fishing grounds. I just purchased a Minn Kota I pilot and as soon as I placed it in the water I realized I left my remote at home. Most of my trips lately I've been guiding so I slacked of the night before with my preparation because I figured it was just a trip with the boys. We started in Snake Bight poking around some flats but I was with some Gilligan’s that kept spooking fish. We caught a couple Reds and decided to move up the coast to focus on some shorelines. At our first stop we caught a few 18 inch Reds on Gulp Shrimp and paddle tails. We headed north and hooked up with something huge on a live ladyfish. My guess is either a Bull shark or possibly a rare Sawfish. We busted the fish off after 15 minutes and that became a reoccurring theme throughout the day. About 20 minutes later my other buddy hooked up with another monster and couldn’t even get this fish off the bottom. This fish was caught on a live Shrimp so it is very unlikely it was a big Shark. Again after a 10 minute fight he busted off what I believe was a 40+ pound black Drum. The big Sea Trout have moved into the Flamingo area and they are very aggressive and are readily eating artificial shrimp and jerk baits. There are lots of 18 to 20 inch fish but we landed a couple over 5 lbs. Another great bite going on in the deeper waters of Flamingo is the Shark fishing. With the mild weather for this time of year the Sharks are actively feeding in the deeper canals and bays of The ENP. We fought Lemon, Blacktip and several Bonnethead Sharks without putting too much effort into it at all.

Now’s a great time of the year to enjoy The everglades and it’s amazing fishery and if you would like some additional info about trips or even some fishing advice feel free to contact through the forum or via email Would love to hear from you.


  • SnaphappySnaphappy Posts: 1,377 Officer
    Nice report. Love the Royals cap!
  • Kill N TimeKill N Time Posts: 467 Deckhand
    great report! How were the bugs? I am up in Stuart Fl and was planning on a trip down there with the wife and kids in 2 weeks for spring break to camp and fish, but with the warm winter we may do something else if the bugs are bad. It will be my wife and my daughters first trip to the park so I don't want them to have a bad experience and never want to come back.
  • scottbrownscottbrown Posts: 64 Deckhand
    great report! How were the bugs? I am up in Stuart Fl and was planning on a trip down there with the wife and kids in 2 weeks for spring break to camp and fish, but with the warm winter we may do something else if the bugs are bad. It will be my wife and my daughters first trip to the park so I don't want them to have a bad experience and never want to come back.

    I haven't had any problems with mosquitoes but the wind has been blowing pretty steadily for the past few months. When I get back in some of the creeks there are some Noseums. If you pick a weekend were the winds are blowing around 10 mph you should be fine. The fishing has been pretty good around all of the beaches as well so that should be an added bonus to your trip.
  • bandit100377bandit100377 Posts: 460 Officer
    Those pesky sail cats are actually better eating than the large black drums
  • Kill N TimeKill N Time Posts: 467 Deckhand
    Thanks for the bug update. Looks like we will be heading down for a couple of days next week if the wind cooperates. we are planning on camping/fishing the beach on the outside so I would assume a NE to E wind would be best for our trip. I have camped in the back country on the chickees before, but this will be our first trip out front.
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Posts: 508 Officer
    Weakfish are actually a separate species in the drum family. They are incredibly similar to seatrout, so many anglers often mistake one for the other. The weakies come down to Florida, but the better fishing is in the Carolinas and New England.
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.

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