Flamingo report, 9 September

Finally got back out on the water on Friday and we ran all the way across the interior to the Gulf coast before slowing down. It was high outgoing tide and that first shoreline was very active - we could see small tarpon rolling, small to medium sharks in really tight to the shoreline (in some cases so hot to feed that their backs were out of the water...). One of my anglers promptly hooked a small tarpon on a 1/8oz jig and we were in the thick of it. That small fish did it all, and finally came to the boat. Before I could release it a shark jumped up and we were off to the races again. I thought for sure that little fish was going to get chopped up right in front of us but it jumped away from the bull shark that was on top of it several times then slipped the hook and quickly departed.... That fish narrowly missed being breakfast and didn't want to stick around.... Needless to say I never had the time to reach for my camera.

Our next hookup was a big fish on 15lb line. Once it finally slowed and turned we worked it close enough to see that it was nice lemon shark (medium sized, about eight feet long and about 150lbs). Here's a pic just before I grabbed the leader...
Most folks expect a lemon to be yellow in color but I see everything from gray to light brown - the giveaway that it's a lemon shark is that second dorsal fin - they're hard to miss....

It was a great 10 to 1 catch on relatively light line and my angler thought he'd pass on the next one.... all of the sharks we saw that day were in less than six feet of water - some in less than 18" of water.... and very hungry.

We ran to the north and hooked up on some nice reds, keeping two for the table - here's the pics...

Along the way we also caught and released both snook and trout, the snook were on the small side. That's not to say we didn't tangle with some really big snook but they just took my anglers to school. At one spot, nearing Lostman's River we found something a bit unusual - a large gathering of alligators in saltwater. They ranged from six to eleven feet long and I quit counting somewhere between 20 and 30 of the animals. My best guess is that recent storms flushed them out of the interior. There were so many that I actually had to prod one or two with the pushpole when they floated up under my skiff in about two feet of water. Just when I'd decided to leave that spot (didn't think we'd hook anything the 'gators wouldn't eat...) one of my anglers hooked a really big snook on one of those same little jigs with a really light rod right in the middle of six to eight 'gators in less than two feet of water.... What a show... that fish went screaming up a tiny creek and actually spooked one of the gators along the way... We couldn't stop it or even slow it down very much before it had us stitched up too far for my skiff to follow. When we finally broke it off I was just glad to get most of my line (very light 10lb braid...) back.... Like I said, the big snook on Friday just took us to school....

For the next six weeks (almost to the end of October) the fishing along the gulf coast of the Everglades from Cape Sable up to Lostman's River will just get better and better.... If you can go it will be as good as it gets...
Tight Lines
Bob LeMay
(954) 435-5666


  • Captain BackyardCaptain Backyard Posts: 427 Deckhand
    That's crazy about all them gators!
  • Pucker FactorPucker Factor Posts: 870 Officer
    Bob, were the gators lined up along the edge of the "channel"? I have seen them in that area on the outgoing when the mullet are super thick. When I seem them lining the "channel" they just sit there with their mouths open waiting for the thick schools of mullet rolling by and a mullet eventually lands in their mouth.

  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 2,728 Captain
    This was towards the end of a falling tide so there just wasn't much for them to feed on... They were mostly just hanging out, I suspect waiting until conditions got better. Over the years I've found that you can pole up into them and they'll just slowly move away - but they'll come to life in a heartbeat if you hook a fish near one (and you don't dare use a topwater lure or any kind of cork when they're around). That day we were breaking in a new rod and also using another that I'd just completely re-wrapped after stripping the blank down to the bare graphite. It was that new rod that the big snook just plain took advanatage of. I still have three more rods that will get the same treatment as I gear up for the coming year....

    I forgot to mention that we also caught and released a baby sawfish nearby as well. You just never know what you'll find along the coast....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666

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