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Flamingo report, 17 November

After all the recent storms (and the floods that came with them) it was nice to finally get back on the water at the end of last week.  Making the move to using a fly rod for a beginning fly angler was the agenda that day and I had local angler Raj Bahra aboard with a pair of brand new fly rods (we only used his 8wt that day...).  An experienced angler with conventional gear, this was his first trip using a fly rod so we planned on making it a teaching day as well as an introduction to the interior of the Everglades working with only a fly rod and some hopes... 

One of the great advantages the interior is that you can almost always find fishable waters - when everywhere else is either a muddy mess or so loaded with rainwater run-off that you'll struggle to get a single bite all day long... and that was the case last Thursday.  On the way to Whitewater Bay we found a shoreline loaded with birds and made a point of pausing to check it out.  It was loaded with small fry - and lots of fish eating them.  I had Raj make a few casts, provided a few tips on how to go about stripping a small fly and his first fish on a fly... a baby tarpon... 

forgot to mention that it was raining a bit - but small tarpon on the feed don't even notice it... 

Don't know how I ended up holding the fish instead of my angler - but that's how it worked out that day... all Raj did was hook fish after fish - all of them small tarpon... 
Our first few bites were with a small maribou fly (a Crystal Schminnow, size #4) - and Raj was learning to strip strike, something everyone starting out with a fly rod in the salt will struggle with.... After missing a half dozen strikes he got down to business and hooked a few more, with many of them jumping off the hook at the first opportunity.  Once we had it down we switched to small popping bugs so that he could see the surface strikes using a SpeedBug in size #1.  After an hour's worth of action we left them biting and spent the rest of the day with small snook that were eager to bite clousers (or at least my version of Bob Clouser's famous minnow pattern).  Lost count of the number small snook that day - unlike the baby tarpon - little snook just attack a fly and usually hook themselves in the process... 

We found them in a variety of  places but only where the water was relatively clear (Even Whitewater Bay only held good waters in the extreme eastern areas (along with Lane and other bays as well...).  It was a great day - and I can't wait until the waters clear up enough to do some serious sight-fishing with their big brothers as we move into the fall... Unlike up north... down here we still are in late summer conditions with water temps still in the high seventies and low eighties - very unusual weather for this time of year in the 'glades... 
Be a hero... take a kid fishing
Tight Lines
Bob LeMay
(954) 435-5666


  • 1outlaw1outlaw Posts: 1,887 Captain
    Thanks for the report Captain!!
    Jason :USA
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter Posts: 5,643 Moderator
    First fish on fly, a tarpon, no matter the size, is memorable.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,906 Captain
    Yep.... can’t say I’ve ever managed it before.   Usually that first fish is a jack, ladyfish, trout - or any other specie that will bite anything in front of them.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Gary SGary S Posts: 3,435 Captain
    I personally don't like fly fishing, too much work. But to someone who enjoys it, sounds like he defiantly got his moneys worth and must have been enjoyable to help someone with his dream.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,906 Captain
    edited November 2020 #6
    I'm lucky enough to enjoy every type of sportfishing - with every type of gear... I do draw the line at hand grenades though (don't ask... that was many many years ago on the other side of the world in a very bad place...).  We'd need an adult beverage or two before I talk about those days... 
    Nowadays everyone says "Thank you for your service".... back in 1971 we came home quietly and didn't want to talk about where we'd been.  Not a great memory.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • gogittumgogittum Posts: 4,190 Captain
    edited November 2020 #7

    Nowadays everyone says "Thank you for your service".... back in 1971 we came home quietly and didn't want to talk about where we'd been.  Not a great memory.
    The reception you got from the so-called "Flower Children" was a criminal shame, too.  I well remember friends who came back to that and I well remember Traitor Fonda.
  • catchemupcatchemup Posts: 490 Deckhand
    gogittum said:

    Nowadays everyone says "Thank you for your service".... back in 1971 we came home quietly and didn't want to talk about where we'd been.  Not a great memory.
    The reception you got from the so-called "Flower Children" was a criminal shame, too.  I well remember friends who came back to that and I well remember Traitor Fonda.
    The worst part back in '70 and '71 when you were being out processed  from active duty was not  'not being thanked'...but the idiots that would try and spit on anyone in uniform.
  • Lostmen_DanLostmen_Dan Posts: 18 Deckhand
    Great report as always Capt.

    One of my favorite Flamingo stories involved live charges to take fish. Back when commercial fishing was allowed in the park goliath grouper, then jewfsh, were a targeted species. There were far fewer requirements to buying and selling fish in those days. Plenty of blue collar folks used Flamingo as a way to make ends meet. One of these types had made the trek down from Broward to find his cooler left at home. A styrofoam model was picked up in Homestead, likely outfitted with more than a few adult beverages. Version I've received is that things got dicey around the old wood boat sunk near Buoy, since erased by tide and time. These we're redfish guys that carried only light tackle not suited to pull a grouper from structure of a size worth butchering. What they did carry were cane poles and M80s for such an instance. Things went according to plan in the detonation of the charge. The 30lb jewfish that called the wreck home floated up to the surface, was easily netted and deposited into the new cooler. After a few minutes that fish decided the accommodations were not to his liking and did as fish tend to do, blowing the cooler to pieces. A fitting retaliation for a fish that survived dispatch by pyrotechnic. The only words given to the park ranger on duty; "Guess she must've been a little green!"

    Times have changed for the better. Regardless of where you land on harvest or protection on goliaths, I think we'd all agree that commercial fishing, particularly with dynamite, has no place in our park. That said, I would love to have been on that dock to see the aftermath of goliath revenge. 

    Formerly lostmen dan. Not able to get back in the account but what else is new around here.

    3rd gen Floridian fishing Flamingo, Chokoloskee, the Keys and Tri-County area since 1988.
    IG - @danielrearle
  • EngguyEngguy Posts: 197 Deckhand
    That Tarpon is really golden.   Nice day...

  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,906 Captain
    We're seeing hundreds of them at a time last week from half a pound up to about five pounds... This week as water temps began to drop - not so many.
    Yesterday we fished Flamingo - today it was Chokoloskee... I'll try to have another report with lots of photos before Monday.  Right now things are really pickiing up.  Both of my anglers today got backcountry slams of snook, redfish and speckled trout (I quit counting somewhere around forty for the trout (double headers every cast at one place... 

    Looks like we're finally coming into fall fishing (only one month late...).
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 4,211 Captain
    Enjoyed the reports -Thanks!
  • ric1ric1 Posts: 227 Deckhand
    Better late, than never, lol.
    Instead of giving your children everything you didn't have, teach them everything you didn't know. I promise their future will turn out better! :wink
  • mlangemlange Posts: 117 Deckhand
    Winterized the boat last weekend and stood on an inch of ice this morning. kinda jealous! 
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,906 Captain
    Yep... as it starts to get too cold to fish up north (and I can remember years ago up in Maryland and around Washington D.C. when friends  had to haul out their boats for the winter- and wouldn't put them back in until late May...) hopefully my phone will begin to ring... 

    For those of us that guide in the coastal Everglades... winter and spring are when most of our out of state anglers show up (in fact it's our high season...).  Just nothing like south Florida when up north it's either ice or snow - or both... 

    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
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