Everglades Fly Fishing Charters
Everglades & 10,000 Islands Fly Fishing and Light Tackle Charters • Captain Buddy Ferber • (239) 298-3863

FEBRUARY/MARCH EVERGLADES FISH REPORT

Greetings from Captain Buddy,

Hope everyone is staying healthy as we navigate through these challenging times.  We are sure enough experiencing shifting times and an extraordinary time to be in the world.  Spirit of the Fly has canceled all charters for the moment and, in keeping up with the movement of this pandemic curve, will continue to exercise caution as we all work together to get through the coming weeks and months.

I continue to go out on the water at least every other day, and the fishing has been above par. The solitude has provided me a form of therapy and introspection and the fish seem to be happy and active, so no complaints in killing two birds with one stone, as the saying goes.  There is no question, we still need to fish hard when we head out, but the reward is ALWAYS worth the effort.  At this particular moment in the season, the most pressing question is, Snook or Tarpon, which will it be? I probably enjoy catching large Snook above all.  It is an excellent time for this right now, as larger females are coming out of the backcountry and also migrating back from offshore.  They have a minimal amount of time left to feed prior to the onset of their seasonal spawn, which will require high levels of energy for them to perform during both May and June.  They are moving 24/7 during this time.

Just a few days ago, I lost a really good Snook at the boat while I was trying to get my camera out of the rear hatch.  Although I’ve been lucky in the past, I should know better.  Catch the fish, then worry about the camera.  With the exception of Tarpon handling, I’ve started carrying a net for the larger fish. It helps to have the net with less chance of dropping the fish, especially if fishing alone.  It’s preferable to also to have a strong rubber or nylon coated mesh net which make it easier to handle the fish and therefore less risk that it will incur injury.

With photos, I’ve learned to not lift the fish too high–even the most experienced angler can risk losing their catch this way.  The chance of a sharp slippery wiggle — that’s all it takes to not only lose the photo opportunity, but possibly injure the fish, which should always be released carefully after a photo. Even though the Snook fishing is better than it’s been in years, and it’s easy to get excited about a catch, please be careful with them, as we are in their terrain and we owe it to them to handle them with care.

Over the past 3 weeks I’ve been seeing quite a few Tarpon.  Keeping fingers crossed for another excellent Tarpon season this year.   As I’ve said in previous updates, always try to use single hooks on these fish.  If one does take a treble hook, or hooks (ugh), carry reliable pliers that can cut through heavy wire.  Being prepared makes for a smoother and more expedious release of your catch.  I use Knipex pliers, which can cut through a 6/0 hook easily.

While out on the water yesterday, I got 4 sight casts to Redfish in about 1-1.5 feet of water.  I did manage to get one to eat; however, either I pulled too quickly when setting the hook, or it just wasn’t going for the taste of the artificial fly.  Over the past few months, I’ve started to pole mangrove edges, and bays again looking for them.  For awhile I gave it up, as I’d poll many miles without seeing them.  It’s different now, those shallow tucked-away bays have Redfish, and some really good-sized ones.  What a rush, to spot the fish, follow it closely as you position yourself and then immediately go into action putting your fly-fishing skills to work.  In this case, you may lighten your leader and tippet and use a soft, landing fly tied on a much smaller hook than we generally use..and that just may be the ticket that lands one in that moment.  Deer hair is magical, when it comes to a soft landing.  As most of you know, our scaled friends are not ‘sitting’ targets and won’t stand for much disturbance in 12” or less of water.

Ok, enough talk for now….heading to bed early…want to be ready and refreshed in the morning for another day’s adventure.

Wishing the very best for you and your family at this time. Stay safe and well.

Signing off……..

Captain Buddy

 

Let’s Go Fishing!

Captain Buddy Ferber
BuddyFerber@att.net
(239) 298-3863