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Everglades backcountry 10 March...

lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,450 Captain
This past ten days have been with lots of not so friendly weather... Wherever we fished it was in high winds and cold water - not usually anything to brag about but we did have our moments... The first day after the cold front I was fishing Mark and Lori Schweikert over in the Ten Thousand Islands and we made a day of it in the upper bays, finding snook, speckled trout and redfish.  Enough for a double backcountry slam for each angler.  We were finding mostly small fish with our lures using very light rods when Lori hooked up a really nice big snook.  That fish gave us quite a time on only 10lb braid and a small, 1/8oz. leadhead... Here's a pic before a careful release... The fish weighed in at 10lbs and measure 32" long... 

Lori is a marine biologist, this was her first big snook ... she and Mark are expecting their first child in about a month or so...

Later that day we found a quiet interior bay with lots of nice slot sized redfish that were perfect sight fishing targets... Both Lori and Mark caught and released a half dozen of them - all on those same small leadheads... Here's a pic of Mark with one...

each one was carefully released to fight another day...

The  next day I was over at Flamingo fishing Bob Jackson from Mississippi, wanting his first big tarpon.  The weather that weekend simply made the big tarpon disappear so we went after other targets.  Along with the usual snook, reds, and trout Bob managed his first small goliath grouper - and it was a real handful... Here's a pic...

and once again - very carefully released in good condition..

My last day that week was with local angler Robert Abramites - and the tarpon were still missing so we went after everything else and did fairly well with small snook, good sized trout, and others.   The highlight that day was something just un-stoppable hooked up in relatively shallow waters that we fought for about 30 minutes without slowing it down much...  Pretty sure it wasn't a shark but it did give all the signs of a big sawfish (a sawfish on the line will periodically smack the leader with it's bill - pretty much a signature of one any time you have a big one hooked up... ).  We tried our best to get a look at it but whatever it was we needed much heavier gear to even begin to slow it down... then it finally found a snag and that was that...

My last day on the water was yesterday fishing Ralph Adams and his ten year old son James from Texas... Of all the bad weather days we've been fishing, yesterday may have been the toughest with winds up to 30 miles an hour and waters still too cold for tarpon... This was not a day to run across Whitewater Bay (it's ten miles long and six miles wide and can get pretty rough on a windy day...) so we ran across using the Joe River for some shelter.  Our first spot, still inside, we were looking for redfish but instead found a bunch of small snook.... In 20 minutes we'd caught and released at least a dozen -maybe more, before continuing across the interior... Along the way we caught and released some nice size speckled trout - but the reds simply weren't around any where we stopped.. Finally Ralph hooked up a big fish (once again - on the lightest rod on my skiff...).  We chased that fish for at least 15 minutes as it did long fast runs over and over again - each one in a different direction.  It fought like a big permit - but we never even caught a glimpse of it before the hook pulled and it will be a fish I'll remember a long time... whatever it was...

Our last good fish that day was one that young James will remember a long time.. He hooked up a big snook on a medium heavy rod about eighty feet from a series of downed trees along a gulf-side shoreline and the fish went screaming back into the shoreline and around a snag where we could see it thrashing around... I got us moving into the shore when the big fish finally came free - then was attacked by  a shark right in front of us.... Here's the result...

this was an over-slot fish by a good margin - but not after the shark got it...

Just nothing like the 'glades...

Be a hero... take a kid fishing!
Tight Lines
Bob LeMay
(954) 435-5666

Replies

  • 2times2times AlvaPosts: 166 Deckhand
    Just curious...
    what do you do with the half eaten snook?  It’s over the slot size as whole fish but it’s now damaged good.  Can you take it home and filet the left over?
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,450 Captain
    Like most guides I don’t even want the slightest problem with park rangers or FWC so for me an oversized fish is just that and back into the water -even with half a fish...

    That’s pretty absurd I know but absent any specific guidelines that’s how I deal with it...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • catchemupcatchemup Posts: 454 Deckhand
    Like most guides I don’t even want the slightest problem with park rangers or FWC so for me an oversized fish is just that and back into the water -even with half a fish...

    That’s pretty absurd I know but absent any specific guidelines that’s how I deal with it...
    A couple of years ago I had an angler hook a slob of a snook off the nuc plant outflow south of  Ft Pierce ocean side. After a considerable fight a Goliath  grouper the size of a checker cab  swallowed the snook whole. The monster [which was all white in color no doubt colored by the sandy bottom she lived on rather than the typical molten shades] simply swam to the bottom . After a while she gave up the snook  completely intact. The snook was dead with all her scales roughed up. We did the same thing Bob did…set her adrift as there are no special provisions to cover this contingency as I rather not plead my case to the FWC officer or the judge.
  • 1outlaw1outlaw Naples FLPosts: 1,644 Captain
    Great report Bob considering the wind we have had!!! Thanks alot!!
    Jason :USA
  • L8RBRAL8RBRA Posts: 792 Officer
    Should post that question in ask the law. It would be interesting to hear a officers take on retaining a half eaten fish.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,450 Captain
    As a retired cop myself... I can just imagine the "opinion" I'd get (and I'm pretty certain that I'd get different opinions from different officers - or rangers...).  What's actually needed is a clear cut rule - and I doubt we'll ever see that since it would be all too easy for an unscrupulous so and so to chop a big fish in half and claim that it got shark or barracuda bit.... 
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • 2times2times AlvaPosts: 166 Deckhand
    There is similar situation up north during primitive weapon season where people have been known to apply coup-de-grace on deer with hatchet, knives, etc.

  • stebfishstebfish Posts: 180 Deckhand
    That last pic is why I don't stick my hands in the water to release fish down there. I have had sharks eat Snooks right next to the boat too many times in East Cape. You can't see them until it's too late. Good job.
  • Fishin' MusicianFishin' Musician Posts: 93 Deckhand
    Great report as always, Capt. Bob.
    I agree on keeping hands out of the water off East Cape.
    Those bulls are very sneaky!
    Looking to head down there week after next, hopefully they won't close the Park ...

    Dave
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,450 Captain
    I haven’t heard a word from the Park about any closures... The only place with numbers of people in close proximity are the tour boats that work out of Flamingo...

    Of course I also have to admit that guides are among the last to hear about whatever the Park does...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
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