Chokoloskee Up Close: Chasing Snook, Tarpon, And Reds In The Everglades

October 2019

As the temperatures start to dip into the 30s and below here in the Colorado high country, my thoughts are starting to turn from trout to chasing snook, tarpon, and redfish in my winter home in Florida’s Everglades.  I live on a little island in the Glades called Chokoloskee surrounded by miles and miles of beautiful saltwater teeming with big fish.  Here’s a sampling of my favorite places that can be reached easily by kayak or small skiff from my latest article from Florida Sportsman with the inside skinny on lures and technique as well.  Come on down when you want to thaw out and catch some fish this winter!

Click on the link below to view a copy of the article “Chokoloskee Up Close.”

Chokoloskee Article FS

This Cat Gets No Respect: Saltwater Angling For Gafftopsail Catfish

When I was a kid, my parents moved a lot!  But I always found them!! 

Rodney Dangerfield

 June 2018

I’ve just landed a muscular fish over 20 inches that smashed my Gulp! swimming mullet lure like a freight train, then ran hard and deep like a redfish.  I’m already salivating over the thought of savoring one of the best tasting fish in Florida over dinner tonight.  So why is my fishing buddy laughing, his nose turned up slightly in disdain??  Because it’s Bagrus marinus, popularly  known as a gafftopsail catfish.

Okay, okay, I’ll have to deal with the gelatinous snot it’s left on my leader, and yes I’ll have to dodge those wicked, venomous spines to get my hook out, but sail cats just can’t get no respect—just like Rodney Dangerfield and the way it used to be for barracuda before Keys angling guides pushed to have it listed as a gamefish.  In other southern states, anglers appreciate saltwater catfish, but not so much in Florida.  It’s time for a change!  By the end of the day, after landing numerous sail cats on light spin tackle, my fishing buddy Bob Wayne, a renowned saltwater flyfisherman who has chased fish worldwide and appeared on covers of several national fly fishing magazines, is a devoted convert to the gafftopsail!

Click on the link below to view a pdf of my article on sailcat fishing that appeared in the June 2018 issue of Florida Sportsman

Sailcat Article

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Gafftopsail Won A Blind Tasting Test Against More-Prized Sheepshead And Speckled Sea Trout
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Watch Out For Those Nasty Sharp Fins!

 

 

 

 

Florida Keys Fishing Sans A (Motor) Boat: Bridge, Wading, and Kayak Angling Along Highway 1

Hello From Florida….When you say Blizzard, we think of Dairy Queen!

Winter 2017

Want to catch a monster barracuda or maybe a big snook, hefty grouper, or gigantic shark in the Florida Keys?  Maybe a mess of snapper?  Got to have a big boat, right?  That notion was being firmly dispelled as I watched Mark Resto of Miami, with the help of a fishing buddy, fight a big barracuda on the Seven Mile Fishing Bridge near Marathon.  His rod bent double, Michael was on the edge of exhaustion.

The four-foot-long cuda was churning in the fast current 20 feet below, threatening to snap his line at any moment. Arms aching, Michael finally brought the fish to the surface, quickly passed the rod to his buddy and threw a bridge net down in the water next to the barracuda, corralled it, and slowly winched up the prize.

Shore-fishing is one of the great delights of the Florida Keys. Starting at the Tea Table Bridge, Mile Marker 79, and heading southwest on Highway 1 towards Key West there is accessible, exciting fishing right near the road.  Numerous bridges, wadeable nearshore flats, and close-in hotspots easily reached by kayak or other cartop vessel offer access to good fishing.

Kayak wading flats (2)
Wading And Kayak Angling Opportunities Abound Along Highway 1 In The Keys

Not that this fishing is a snap.  Ferreting out the honeyholes can take a little sleuthing and successful bridge fishing is an art, not for those who  like to lollygag in lawn chairs! The article below reveals some of the best nearshore spots and offers tips from experts at local bait and tackle shops who specialize in bridge fishing and wading and kayaking to stalk their quarry.

CLICK ON THE LINK TO VIEW A PDF COPY OF MY NOVEMBER 2016 FLORIDA KEYS DRIVE-IN FISHING ARTICLE FROM FLORIDA SPORTSMAN magazine.

FS Keys Article 11-16 reduced pdf