FLAMINGO REPORTS - SPRING '16

Wind, Wind, go away. Anyone been down lately? Moderator, on second thought maybe the best way to do this since there is already a sticky for Flamingo Reports is to delete this thread and delete Winter '16 from the sticky and just have a Flamingo Reports sticky instead of having seasonal threads? Thanks
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Replies

  • DPrestonDPreston Posts: 153 Officer
    More of a general report but I have fished around Flamingo 4 or 5 times since Jan. Unfortunately, FL Bay is in a sad state right now. 21,000 acres of grass die off, and algae blooms in many parts of the bay. There is very little grass left in the bights, and nasty water in several of the mid-bay basins. Fished the Backcountry Fly tournament in Feb and it was very tough. Spoke with one of the top FL Bay guides in Islamorada and he caught a total of 2 redfish the entire month of February. In more positive news, some tarpon are starting to show up, and snook fishing has been pretty good on the west coast.
  • TGunnTGunn Posts: 1,860 Captain
    DPreston wrote: »
    More of a general report but I have fished around Flamingo 4 or 5 times since Jan. Unfortunately, FL Bay is in a sad state right now. 21,000 acres of grass die off, and algae blooms in many parts of the bay. There is very little grass left in the bights, and nasty water in several of the mid-bay basins. Fished the Backcountry Fly tournament in Feb and it was very tough. Spoke with one of the top FL Bay guides in Islamorada and he caught a total of 2 redfish the entire month of February. In more positive news, some tarpon are starting to show up, and snook fishing has been pretty good on the west coast.

    Don't worry, the Parks Service decided to close all those shallow areas with grass off to boat traffic and make them pole and troll only. The seagrass is safe now; everything will be fine.
  • DPrestonDPreston Posts: 153 Officer
    I know Tommy...it's ludicrous. I am not against the general idea of the poll and troll zones - the prop scarring and nonstop traffic of skiffs in and out of the bights was getting ridiculous - but it's pretty ironic that regulations designed to protect the resource are finally being put in place when there is sadly not much out there left to protect. Not that the park has man-power to enforce any of it anyways...
  • TGunnTGunn Posts: 1,860 Captain
    For whatever it's worth, I saw more pilchards down at Flamingo on Saturday then I've ever seen in my life. We threw a little 8' 3/16" minnow-mesh net that I usually keep to catch chummers or silversides three times and blacked out 80 gallons of livewell. On one throw we couldn't get the net in the boat.

    310C0D3B-171D-48EA-8B93-D66BE54B0E70_zps1i48mtep.jpg
  • JoeBCJoeBC Posts: 608 Officer
    Hadn't launched out front since October since the dead grass made it pretty much unfishable then. I was well into Snake Bight that day and certainly noticed lots of areas of generally unhealthy bottom/less fish than usual. Anyways this weekend finally decided to launch out front and check for myself, fortunately area right around the ramp hasn't been effected too much. Didn't push into SB since there was bait and fish to catch close by and I had to be home early. Ended up with 4 snook and 1 red. Actually saw a decent amount of smaller reds mixed in with some mullet. A good sign for this summer maybe? I will be back down and push into the bight and give a better report on water/bottom conditions eventually.
  • THE OUTLAWTHE OUTLAW Posts: 77 Deckhand
  • Pucker FactorPucker Factor Posts: 875 Officer
    Bait guys . . . jeebus. Could care less about actually catching target species, but if the bait is on . . . its a great day.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,333 Captain
    C'mon Adam.... normally this time of year they'd be scratching hard just to find a few baits.... Of course it doesn't hurt that Whitewater has lots of baby ladyfish right now either....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,333 Captain
    and now for a quick report....

    Time for a long overdue report. This time of year most guides are booked continuously wherever they fish down here. We started off the month looking at nice warm weather but high winds came with it (for almost two weeks) so we were hunting for sheltered spots (that might also hold fish....).... Early in the month there were very few local anglers on the water (figure they were seeing the same weather forecasts I was....) so at least the backcountry had very few anglers anywhere you looked most days. Finally with a break in the weather the big tarpon were easy to find and laid up perfectly for fly and lure anglers. All told it was pretty frustrating since everywhere we found them... they weren't eating flies at all. In fact most were spooking away just as any fly line landed nearby - long before they ever saw the fly..... On the other hand big fish in nearby rivers were eating live baits and lures just fine.... Here's a series of pics from one day on the water with local angler Andy Hessen and his two sons Chris and Brad.... Chris struck first with this nice snook on a small lure in Whitewater Bay right at dawn....
    [img][/img][img][/img]HessenChris%20big%20snook%20at%20dawn_zps9enrofdn.jpg
    After loading a few small ladyfish in the livewell we were off to one of the many tributaries that drain from the interior of the 'Glades out into the west coast near the Shark River area, setting up in one that usually held fish..... At first we didn't see any tarpon then one or two rolled and we decided to set out a bait or two. After a few minutes I was a bit discouraged and considering re-locating when one rod went off and we were in business with Brad on the rod. That big fish fooled me since it didn't jump at first so I thought we'd tangled with a bull shark.. Finally it showed and it was much over 100lbs of big tarpon -and a real problem since it didn't jump much at all.... I was taught, years ago, that a big tarpon, smart enough not to jump - was almost impossible to beat. After almost 30 minutes on the rod Brad finally got the leader into the rodtip - but the fish was clearly a long way from being ****.... It went on to finally wear through an 80lb leader.... That fish kept me so busy trying to keep it from getting under trees from one side of the river to the other that I was never able to manage a single photo... Since it was Brad's first tarpon he was worn out (at least for the moment...). Time to run to another river -and it was loaded with tarpon. Andy started the action hooking one of about 70lbs on a small jig (look at the pic of the snook to see what we were using....). Here's are two photos of that fish....
    [img][/img][img][/img]HessenAndy%20tarpon.1_zpssvvprjxf.jpg
    [img][/img][img][/img]HessenAndy%20tarpon.2_zps3ovoacu9.jpg

    We went on that day to jump eight fish from 70 to well over 100lbs bringing two to the skiff on lures and three on bait. The action simply never slowed down. To add to the action we had a small goliath grouper come off the bottom right up to where we could see him attack a bait meant for a tarpon... Here's Brad ready to release the fish...
    [img][/img][img][/img]HessenBrad%20goliath%20for%20release_zps4crfhnwn.jpg

    Along with tarpon, snook, and everything else going on the spring run of roe-fat speckled trout is also well underway.... Find one and you'll usually find a big enough school of fish to keep every rod in action until you've caught your limit (four per person) or gotten tired of releasing them. The very good trout fishing should remain on tap for at least the month of April -great action for all ages (and pretty good table fare as well).

    I expect the tarpon fishing to actually get better in coming weeks all the way through the first two weeks in May... after that the big fish will move out on their way down to Islamorada to spawn (leaving nothing but "small tarpon" -up to 60lbs or so behind to take up the slack). All in all these next weeks will be a very good time to be on the water....

    Be a hero, take a kid fishing!
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • boneheadhuntingboneheadhunting Posts: 141 Deckhand
    Awesome report!:hail
  • TGunnTGunn Posts: 1,860 Captain
    Bait guys . . . jeebus. Could care less about actually catching target species, but if the bait is on . . . its a great day.

    You think we'd post reports on 'target species' Adam?

    I'll leave that to the guys who know what they are doing, like the report above.
  • Pucker FactorPucker Factor Posts: 875 Officer
    Was trying to BAIT you into a challenge.

    Getting really close.
  • Pucker FactorPucker Factor Posts: 875 Officer
    lemaymiami wrote: »
    C'mon Adam.... normally this time of year they'd be scratching hard just to find a few baits.... Of course it doesn't hurt that Whitewater has lots of baby ladyfish right now either....

    Glad you did not use the term we'd be scratching hard . . . I would have been really bummed.:wink
  • BonesBones Posts: 179 Deckhand
    Great report Bob! Come on T & P tell us what you have been catching.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,333 Captain
    What's T & P ?

    Yesterday we jumped another five tarpon from 50 up to 100 lbs up inside - one on bait, four on lures. To finish off the day we found some nice fat trout for my anglers to take home, the biggest was 21.5" - and all of them ate the same small jigs the tarpon seemed to like... Starting tomorrow it will be fly only for the next six days....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • TGunnTGunn Posts: 1,860 Captain
    lemaymiami wrote: »
    What's T & P ?

    In order of probability, I'll go with:

    1) "Toilet" & "Paper"

    or, (slightly less likely)

    2) "TGunn" & "Pucker."
  • EngguyEngguy Posts: 171 Deckhand
    Fished back country on Friday with a buddy. Some what of a west wind. Didn't like the color of the water. Hit all of our "hot" spots, not so good.
    However I want to point out that if you have not noticed, the oyster beds are are all gone. Lostmans, Broad, Harney, Oyster bay. Noting but sand. Total lack of adequate fresh water flow. Dead oyster shells were piled up 6' high in the mouth of the Harney. Sad real sad.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,333 Captain
    A quick heads up... today at 6:05am the Park was closed due to smoke on the roadway (at least that's what the nice Ranger said......). My anglers were right behind me (it was their last of a four day trip so we won't be able to make it up tomorrow). Just another fun day in paradise... It only took me one and a half hours to get back up to Broward - getting to see the commuter hell from Florida City up to south Broward that time of day....

    Contact the Visitor's Center to see if they've sorted it out before tomorrow's trip....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,333 Captain
    There's a pretty good article in today's Miami Herald about the fire that closed the Park yesterday morning... I'm off the water (doing taxes) the next day or two so I haven't checked to find out if the road has re-opened. If anyone learns, please post the info....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • EngguyEngguy Posts: 171 Deckhand
    A friend of mine drove down from Davie with 3 other people expecting to enjoy a day on the water. He too got turned away and when he said he drove down from Broward, the ranger, said better than the guy who drove down from Jupiter.
    Think they could have put out a public service announcement by one of the smoking hot weather girls on the morning TV??
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,333 Captain
    The Park is in poor shape currently... They can't even afford to man the front gate (haven't seen anyone at the gate in a few weeks now-and I'm there daily....). A Park supervisor that I spoke with casually said that the sequester in Washington hurt them badly.... More to the point the national park system is part of the Interior department and like everyone else in the federal system has to go to Congress each year with their budget requests.... The Everglades, in general, badly need some champions up in Washington. The more prominent parks in the system appear to stand first in line for funding in my opinion.

    If anyone goes to the Miami Herald article they might want to check out the comment I left about fires in the 'Glades... They're pretty much a yearly phenomenon - coming at the end of every dry season. Fire is one of the elemental forces that shape the 'glades. Of course the press never mentions that whenever they post articles about the subject.....

    I'll get down off of my soapbox now. With the rise of the internet and the decline of newspapers and magazines our ability to bring these kind of issues to the general public does not seem as strong as it was years ago....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • DirtySouthDirtySouth Posts: 217 Deckhand
    Problem is we have very crappy politicians down here, our congressional representatives only care about what is happening in Cuba, and one of our US Senators thought he was going to be the next President, and forgot that he was still being paid to represent the State of Florida.(I call him the Skunk Ape, you've heard of him but you never see him)
    I was out biking near Black Point and the SFWMD is still dumping water into the bay. I'm sure this has the fish very confused.
    Strange isn't it, you would think with this being "the information age" that important issues would be more readily available. Bob, my opinion is that people really don't care about "real" issues. Most people don't have deep roots here in South Florida, and they display it every time they tear up the flats, speed in the channel, play their music as loud as it can go, dump trash into the water, don't obey the regulations set for fish, I could go on but I think everyone gets the point. I remember going to one of the meetings for the GMP of BNP, and one of the speakers for the park said only like 10% of the people living in Miami interviewed, knew that BNP was a national park.
    I'll get off my soap box now, just gets really frustrating, hate seeing a place that is so magical like Everglades National park, being treating like its a dumping ground.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,333 Captain
    Spoke with a couple of other guides about that roadway. I was told that since the closing on Monday they've re-opened the roadway and actually have been escorting folks through the smoky portion (right around the Royal Palm turnoff) so that they can still get to Flamingo...

    I guess they never thought of that last Monday when they simply told us the road was closed and sent us back the way we came. I'm booked down there both days this weekend so I'll be finding out first hand....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • DPrestonDPreston Posts: 153 Officer
    Park was open today. Fire rescue at the gate just giving warnings to be careful. A little smokey for a few minutes but no big deal.
  • JoeBCJoeBC Posts: 608 Officer
    Fished Saturday out front. Some smoke on the road but nothing that slowed me down, and it actually showed up over the water later in the day when the winds shifted out of the NE. Fishing was decent, picked away at some snook up to 31" and jumped off a few smaller Tarpon. The Tarpon disappeared once I tied on a fly with a more substantial hook/bite tippet. Picked off one more nice Snook out on the flats and headed back in. Tons of sharks around but didn't see a single redfish. Grass in Snake Bight was patchy with algae covering some of it but some areas looked fine and lots of bait around and the Snook were healthy. Anybody seeing redfish out front further from the ramp or does the bad grass have them somewhere else? Wondering if we have a good year on redfish in BB if they aren't happy down in Florida Bay.
  • BonesBones Posts: 179 Deckhand
    Nice fat snook. So you were in your Kayak on the flats out front and didnt see a single Redfish? Thats not good. If they are thinking of moving to BB they must be really be hurting. Have you see any schools in BB when you are out there bone/permit fishing?
  • Phinz13Phinz13 Posts: 72 Greenhorn
    anybody been out there lately? looking to get out sometime next week
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,333 Captain
    Lots going on down there each day this time of year... Of course the bugs have begun to show up since the rains have gotten started but our last day on the water (six days ago now) my angler hooked up on one big tarpon (and we were doing just fine until a big bull shark wiped him out...), snook, trout, triple tail, jacks up to ten pounds, mangrove snapper, etc. As long as the wind doesn't start howling again the fishing each day all summer long will just get better and better. Unlike most I'm rarely on the Florida Bay side of Flamingo. Instead we run through the interior and work the west side of the Glades mostly somewhere between Cape Sable and Lostman's... hope this helps.

    I've been running so hard since early April that I can't remember my last fishing report. I'll try to post some pics later on today if I get everything else done...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Wra22Wra22 Posts: 151 Deckhand
    My fear is that if the Park gets more money they will just use it to pave or build something that will make it less of a wilderness.
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 6,495 Admiral
    I spent almost 10 Years at NPS.
    The first thing to close is User Access. That's what pisses folks off and makes News.
    NPS..Winning.
    How much money doe's a Boat ramp cost...?
    Park closures are Money Makers for the General Funds...not your Boat ramp...just sayin..
    Killin and Grillin :grin
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