Everglades backcountry report, 7 August
Only had one trip this past week - down to Flamingo with 11 year old Anthony and his Mom. It was a short trip last Thursday, only five hours but we managed to find a few fish. Since my young angler had never learned to use a rod and reel, the first order was to get him casting a light spinning rod with a small lure at a spot with lots of trout, ladyfish, and others hanging out in a feeding lane in Whitewater Bay. From his first cast on he got bitten and we were off to the races. We quickly loaded a half dozen ladyfish into the live well and headed for the coast near the Shark River. Our first two spots were frustrating since the baits were eaten - then the fish promptly ran back into downed trees and other structure... Our third spot was what we were looking for.Anthony's small ladyfish got attacked the moment it settled down to the bottom and at first the fish acted like a shark, screaming line off of his reel - but only for about fifty feet - then it turned and ran towards the shoreline. A few minutes later he had his first snook at the boat - a solid ten pound fish...she was carefully photoed then slipped back into the water. This time of year big snook are again setting up to spawn..Our next few baits all ended up eaten - either by sharks or very aggressive goliath grouper so we never were able to put a second bait where those big snook were holding - but I think the trip was still a success...This time of year the big tarpon are very slowly making their way back to the 'glades where they'll be feeding every day preparing for that first cold night in October when they'll ease out back into the Gulf for winter... In the meantime there are still lots of tarpon under sixty pounds that never joined the spawning migration at all... All of the inshore white bait are beginning to school up in bigger schools - and at the same time maturing into five inches and larger sizes that will be a feature in the next two months up and down the gulf side of the 'glades.For next week, we'll be shifting to night trips in both Biscayne Bay and the Jupiter area on the Atlantic side where we'll be sight-fishing docklights mostly with fly or spinning gear. It's that time of year...."Be a hero... take a kid fishing"