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

November / December Everglades Fish Report

Greetings from Capt Buddy,

End of the year weather was great, with lighter variable winds prevailing on most days.  Water temperatures stayed nice with really no significant cold fronts.  Last year in December we had torrential rains to the tune of approximately 11 inches.  The inundation changed the chemistry of the water, moving bait and game fish away from their normal habitat, and making it very hard fishing for the months to follow.  This winter has been dryer, so hopefully the fishing in the backcountry continues to improve, as we experienced in the month of December.  Catching some great large tarpon, and bigger snook than we had been catching over the past several months.  I still believe the park should regulate all snook fishing as catch and release.   In 3-4 years, everyone would be catching mature fish!  That was MY Christmas wish……

With the water clarity improving all the time, it’s a great time to sight fish.  My customers did well in December with redfish, however the majority of them were smaller fish, with the 16” to 25”catches being the predominate size.  The baby tarpon fishery has remained good.  Small tarpon, and where they can be found, is an interesting subject.  Yes, there are some places that I can find them with my flats boat, but generally speaking, these fish do not tolerate pressure and seek out obscure hiding spots.  They are found in the creeks and small lakes in the backcountry that are difficult to get to.  Trekking through spider webs, lots of branches, mosquitoes, crabs, and anything else that we’re not really fond of, has gotten me up close and personal.  As an addicted fly fisherman, I would make the journey every day to find those fish undisturbed and anxious to feed!  Using poppers, gurglers, deer hair bugs, really anything that makes noise on the surface is the ultimate rush back there!   For as many people that inhabit southwest Florida, you would think that I’d see lots of anglers on those waters.  Happy to say- that they must be playing golf or tennis, fishing offshore, enjoying the beaches, or enjoying some other type activity, because they’re not where I go.

On the nice warm days now, I’ll be looking for the larger tarpon.  In the past, most guides/anglers would talk about May and June for these fish.  That was then.  As I spend more and more time on the water, this time of year can be prolific, IF we know where to go—and that’s the key.  I found large tarpon rolling the other day in a spot that I hadn’t seen tarpon previously.  We were fishing for snook and redfish, so the angler with me casted to them for about an hour with no takes.  Just not enough of them there.  However, it’s a spot that I’ll now check often.

The next day I decided that I’d go by myself and give it a go.  On the way, I stopped at a spot that we’ve done well tarpon fishing in the past.  What a pleasant surprise, to see tarpon chasing mullet in several places.  The first tarpon I came in contact with was when I was lifting my fly from the water to cast again.  It was large, and flashed right at the boat.  Within 5 casts, I had a 70 lb fish take my Puglisi baitfish pattern.  Three jumps later my fly came out.  And so the story goes, ten minutes later, I truly hooked up with a monster.  Over an hour later, I leadered the fish and was trying to get my point and shoot camera, which was already set on 12 second delay, positioned on the gunnel to get a close up shot of the fish.  I had both hands on the shock tippet when the fish lunged to the front of the boat.  As my Sage One flew by me, I grabbed it, and that was all she wrote.  I should have known better, because this same scenario happened to me before.  Sage repair is getting to know me on a first name basis.  I’d do it again in a second, but I won’t have to.  I’m buying the best Go-Pro camera available.  It would have been great filming this fish making 8 or 10 aerial jumps.  You live and learn!  But one thing that I know for sure, is we’re in this sport to have fun, and fun we’ll have!!

Signing off until next time,

Captain Buddy

Let’s Go Fishing!

Captain Buddy Ferber
(239) 298-3863