Saturday, February 23, 2013

Manatees, Gators and Snook

No I didn't catch any manatees or gators, but there were plenty around where I was fishing.  I had a day off free from tennis, golf or beach responsibilities and the weather cooperated, so off I went to the canals along the Tamiami Trail in the Everglades.  There are a limited amount of places where you can usually find some fish without a guide and/or boat.  When they built the highway from Tampa to Miami in the 1920s the section from Naples to Miami cut right through the Everglades.  To raise the roadbed above the water line they dug canals which were linked to the Gulf of Mexico.  Now these canals teem with aquatic life.  The water is brackish, so there is a mix of freshwater species, such as bass, gars and alligators and saltwater species, such as snook, tarpon, and manatees.  In the winter the saltwater species are seeking refuge from the cold water in the Gulf and hang out in the canals which warm quickly.  In the video you will get a feel for the area. To get the right effect, put on your long johns, fleece and a couple heavy wool sweaters so simulate the 86F temperature. (Sorry, I couldn't resist that jab at all my frozen buddies!) Although the video shows some huge snook swimming by, the biggest I caught was about 18 inches. White and chartreuse Clousers were the favorite fly, which I discovered after trying about a dozen other patterns. Next week I hope to get out with my buddy Dick on Charlotte Harbor. While I am fishing for redfish and seatrout next weekend, I suggest you head to the Fly Fish NH Show at Pelham Fish and Game Club on Simpson Mill Road in Pelham, NH on March 2 and 3. There are lots of exhibits with fishing guides, outfitters, fly shops and organizations. Also continuous seminars and even a class on how to build a fly rod. Be sure to stop by the NH Rivers Guide booth and say hi to my partner Jim.
Show flyer.