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Whitewater Bay Bass Fishing in Jan?

A bud and I are about to do a 5 day Everglades camping trip. Wondering if we should add some bass gear to what we're bringing.

Wondering if this this a decent time of year for bass? Figuring with the recent north wind the freshwater pushed down a bit, yet wondering how far in we should expect to have to go to have any shot of success? Will we need live shiners or with plastics like a purple worms, frogs and crawfish work?

Appreciate folks advice and input.


  • PoonPoon Posts: 79 Deckhand
    You saying live shiners to Whitewater?! Your bass rods should be all ya need this time of year. If you want bass in WWB you're still gonna need to go very far up the rivers. Better launching from Paroutis (or other areas east) and working in towards that end, IMO. There's decent bass fishing in all the lakes coming in. Those lakes I have used worms, small rapalas. Inside Whitewater recommend the same small rapalas, Yozuris…but catch them on jigs, soft plastics also. Don't forget there are snook, tilapia in those same areas… tight lines and let us know how ya done!
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,423 Captain
    No bass in Whitewater Bay... but you can get to bass from Whitewater.... You run through Whitewater, then into Cormorant Pass to marker 48 (yes, it's one of the few markers still left...), turn right at M48 and look for WW2 (Wilderness Waterway marker #2...). It's the first marker in the Wilderness Waterway system (an interior route from there all the way to Chokoloskee/Everglades City). What you're looking to do is a long run all the way up to the headwaters of the Shark River -a place called Tarpon Bay.... and it's every bit of 27 miles just to get there from the inside boat ramp at Flamingo....

    The part of Tarpon Bay that holds freshwater fish is to the extreme east (Avocado Creek, Otter Creek -and, of course, the Canepatch..).

    I wouldn't think of trying to bring any freswater live baits all that way.... Lots of tiny freshwater minnows up there (along with 'gators, sawgrass, etc. (as well as snook, tarpon, reds - all right in the same area...). We generally make that run in late February or March as the dry season (from the end of October to the end of April in a normal year...) forces the bait in the marshes to the north down into the fringes of brackish areas.... Add a strong north or northeast wind and things get interesting....

    This is the chart for Tarpon Bay... http://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/11432.shtml

    Hope this helps.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,423 Captain
    Forgot to add a few minor points of interest about Tarpon Bay.... Every time I take anglers up there we're looking at a 70 to 80 mile round trip... Tarpon Bay is the head waters of not only the Shark River but also the headwaters of the Harney River....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • TeejTeej Posts: 153 Deckhand
    Much appreciated **** and lemaymiami. We do want to spend one night remote, so as we work south, if we land the Rodgers River Bay Chickee rather settling for Willy Willy or Camp Lonesome, we just might do a loop out the Broad River, in either Broad Creek with the WW to Harney or enter the lower Harney River itself and camp at Canepatch the following night. My rough estimate is that's about 25miles.

    So much of this day trip depends on weather, permits we can land and distance my Suzuki 90 and 40gal fuel tank will allow us to go between refueling. On the permit front, I expect at this time of year the chickees will be a tough get, so....we'll see.

    ****, I took a look at Google Earth of Paurotis Pond and looks like I'd need a pan and pole to navigate west from there!

    Can't thank y'all enough for the info on lures and location to have a shot at success for bass if we give it a try - as well as the knowledge to return at prime time ;)
  • my nettymy netty Posts: 44 Deckhand
    this sounds fun on a windy day!!! how deep are the waters along that route, I have a 19 foot cape horn. wondering if I could make it. I would say i draft maybe a little more than a big bay boat. O yeah any bridges I have a T top. thanks
  • PoonPoon Posts: 79 Deckhand
    Teej wrote: »
    ****, I took a look at Google Earth of Paurotis Pond and looks like I'd need a pan and pole to navigate west from there!

    Sorry. assumed you guys were kayaking for some reason…definitely no launching a boat in Paurotis. Your set up will get ya to the headwaters/creeks of Harney and back no prob. For WillyWilly and Lonesome most guys bring a few extra 5/6 gal. jugs of fuel for the multi-day trips. The good thing about ground sites like Canepatch is you can stay multiple nights!
  • Saltwater JunkieSaltwater Junkie Posts: 1,086 Officer
    lemaymiami wrote: »
    Forgot to add a few minor points of interest about Tarpon Bay.... Every time I take anglers up there we're looking at a 70 to 80 mile round trip... Tarpon Bay is the head waters of not only the Shark River but also the headwaters of the Harney River....

    To add to what Bob has said. I like that area when you're driving along the park road and you can see any water next to the road. If you see water when you get to Mahogany Hammock you won't see as many fish in those area as when it's bone dry.

    We are in the dry season yet we are atill getting some rain. I'm not saying don't go in Jan. If you can go later in the season, like March you might do better.
  • TeejTeej Posts: 153 Deckhand
    Thanks SJ, that's a very helpful read to save doing a long trip for only the scenery...
  • Zone RangerZone Ranger Posts: 82 Deckhand
    I love that part of the park. 2nd only to being in Shark River when the sun's starting to set late on a clear winter afternoon. The pic I use as my avatar is my dad holding a 37 inch snook caught more than 40yrs ago in the notch on the SE shoreline of Tarpon Bay on 10 lb mono and a Mirrolure 7MS. Him fishing and me poling. Biggest snook he ever caught.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,423 Captain
    For mynetty and others who've never been up to Tarpon Bay - the only areas where it's shallow enough to worry about is the northernmost end of Oyster Bay - there you can end up high and dry if you're not careful, Whitewater Bay is pretty much four to six feet deep everywhere out in the open.... Once you're in the Shark it's 8 feet and deeper all the way to the Bay -then three to six feet of water up in Tarpon Bay itself. For what it's worth I've seen sailboats that were more than seventy feet long up in Tarpon Bay during winter (in summer mosquitoes own all the inside areas in the 'glades...).

    The biggest problems for anyone making the long run are both fuel consumption (most are pretty clueless about how much they really burn in a given distance - remember the rule of "thirds" - one third out - one third back - and one third of your fuel in reserve - just like an airplane....) and simply figuring out where to fish (every bit of that area looks fishy as can be.... but most fish are in only 10% of what you're looking at...).
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Flat NutsFlat Nuts Posts: 72 Greenhorn
    That's really cool.... Greatest thing about fishing - you may not remember what you did yesterday but you remember where, when, what you caught a fish on and how big!! Awesome!!
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