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Inshore Fish!ing Report

Summer Changes

Everglades National Park, Fl

May 26, 2002

by: Jim Sawyer

May in SE Florida is a time of changes. Most noticeably it is usually when we change from our spring to a summer fishing patterns. The winds drop, the water warms and the rains begin. The spring runs of mullet, blues, pompano and kings are just fishing stories now.

Summer can mean things like bugs and hurricanes, but it is much too early for that. At Flamingo May means a move out front from the backcountry. Snook have moved back to the passes and deep holes to spawn. Tarpon are migrating. Trout and redfish are up on the flats. Trippletail should start appearing soon. All signs of good things to come.

This summer Capt. John Griffiths has a change of his own. He has just upgraded to a 21' bay boat and invited me down to try it out with a little trout fishing. John is still getting the boat "just right", but it made a big difference already. Florida Bay is a big area and you can do some long distance runs to catch the right tide in some areas. The larger boat really smoothed out the ride between fishing holes and the extra fishing room will help with some of his larger charter groups.

If you have read my other reports you know I have a real knack for bad weather. We planned this trip in the middle of weeks and weeks of clear skys and moderate breezes. For the day of our trip the forecast changed to NE winds 15-20 mph. and heavy rain. A last parting shot from an otherwise pleasant spring. It didn't turn out quite that bad, but I'm glad Capt. Griffiths was able to pick spots where the wind was not a problem.

We met at the marina at 8:00 AM and headed out to castnet some pinfish for bait. It was the end of a falling tide so our first real stop was at a snook hole. There didn't seem to be any snook in residence, but we did manage a long-distance release on a shark. Long-distance is the release I like it best with sharks.

34" snookOn the start of the flood we headed for the East Cape Canal to check out the snook. Our first stop was at the canal entrance and our first battle went to to the snook. After a few minutes we moved up to the entrance to the side canal to the dam and the second battle was also decided in favor of the snook. John had had enough of that so he re-spooled with heavier line and the third snook is pictured to the right. She was 34" and still the smallest of the three. Snook season was already closed so she was quickly released. BTW, right after this picture was taken the boat in the background hooked, and almost landed, a snook in the high 40's.

With a strong incoming current we headed back to the flats outside Flamingo to look for some trout. With a NE wind blowing against the incoming tide the water was getting a little rough and the smoother ride of the new boat was appreciated.

Most of my fishing is catch and release using artificials and I have never targeted trout at Flamingo so this was another change for me. John positioned the boat up on the flat and we were casting toward the edge of the flat and across the incoming tide. I have always heard about "Popping" corks, but John has switched to the Cajun Thunder (visible in the snook picture) and he seems to like them better. The pinfish were hooked thru the nose on an un-weighted hook about 18-24" below the bobber. As we retrieved the rig the drill was to make as much commotion as possible and really bounce the bait around. This is not a subtle presentation . He who makes the most noise, gets the most fish.

2 troutThe limit on Trout is 4 per person, 15-20" and one allowed over 20". Most of our fish were a cookie-cutter 16-17" and I think we could have filled the boat with them. The smallest pinfish around 2-3" were the most effective, but the bigger baits caught the largest trout. Palm sized pinfish would often be hit repeatedly during the retrieve until a bigger trout finally got the job done. The trout at the left were just a couple keepers from the box at the end of the day and not nearly the the biggest caught. I still don't think trout will replace tarpon for me, although it was a lot more fun than I had expected.

We finished with a couple quick stops looking for redfish, but were running out of tide. We were back in the Marina by 4:00 PM after a much more successful day than the weather forecast had predicted. Changing weather has a lot of affect at Flamingo and summer usually means a change for the best.

You can visit Capt Griffith's website for more information.

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Last modified on 11/27/2001.