Southbound (florida)
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Thread: Southbound (florida)

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\r\n Got some cheap flight to Palm Beach for early March. I am planning on carrying some yaks down thanks to my dad\'s college buddy who has a folding kayak company he designed and started. (Foldingboatcompany is the name. Used then down there before, not the best in heavy wind or geared specifically for fishing but they have done the ticket in the past and are an easy transport, setup, and are surprisingly pretty good on the water.)
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\nThe game plan is to fish the way down to the Everglades and maybe hit the upper keys. I\'ve spoken to a few friends and have pinned a few locations to tarpon fish from the bank at night and give peacock a try during the ride south but was wondering if anyone had any other recommendations for places to try on the way south.
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\nAlso would appreciate any recommended guide and am open to any type of fishing but would prefer gulfside and backcountry over offshore.
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\nany other recommendations or advice would be appreciated about locations good for paddle fishing (ie guarded against the wind due to our yak tracking). Plan to probably fish Coots Bay and the flamingo area and considering hiking in with the yaks to snake bite but see how many margaritas I have the night before.
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\nHopefully, the wind will cooperate in March but feel I\'ve jinxed my self by just thinking about it...
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\nThanks in advance!\r\n
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    \r\n I was just down about two weeks ago.
    \nWe fished for 8 days. The first four were cold and a bit rainy. Highs were about 60. The cold weather turned off the peacocks, we fished fir the peacocks for one day and only landed 5, the biggest was 5 pounds.
    \nThe largemouth were already on the beds, my biggest largemouth was 8 lbs. She hit a lizard thrown in her bed, the buck was about 3 pounds.
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    \nWe caught plenty of Oscar\'s, tilapia, midas and mayans.
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    \nFor easy access to miles of water for great peacock, check out the access behind The Falls Shopping Center. It is hidden, but a great spot.
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    \nMost of our t in me was spent in the salt.
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    \nWe limited out every day of mangroves, yellowtail, jolthead porgy, etc.
    \nGrouper are closed, but we landed about 20. All were caught in 45 feet.
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    \nCuda were everywhere and provided non stop action.
    \nRedfish and snook were around, but scattered.
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    \nThe larger tarpon would not play.
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    \nInshore water temp was 64,
    \n4 miles off, surface temp was was 73.4
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    \nGo down to islamorada, indian key boat access. Perfect for kayaks.
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    \nOn a good day, paddle toward the lighthouse and hit the patch reefs
    \nThe tarpon were\r\n
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    \n2 hour bottom trip\r\n
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    \nHaha, they bite\r\n
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    \r\n That is a tempting cooler though. nice catch!\r\n
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    \r\n Thanks brotha,
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    \nMichael_cb_125 good to hear on the multi-freshwater species and thanks for the mall info! I\'m not too worried about making meat run b/c of limited time and flying in and out.
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    \nWhat kinda baits/lures were you using? My game plan was some jigs, soft plastics, some raphalas and mirrodines, and probably grab some shrimp or big mullet. Not to keyed in on the freshwater species but assume it\'s your typical bass stuff and topwaters.\r\n
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    Join Date
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    \r\n Matlacha, Pine Island area is one of the best Gulf side areas for kayak fishing in FL. Placida and Burnt Store have good kayak access for some good fishing in Charlotte Harbor. Estero Bay and the Thousand Island area. Everglades City and Flamingo are access points for the park.
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    \nI have fished Capt Gregg McKee out of Matlacha for years, great guy, at the very least he can help you with some local knowledge.
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    \nWww.fishinfranks.com has one of the best fishing report pages for a multitude of areas.
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    \nIslamorada is a great area, but kayaking will be tough with the currents and back country is a long haul. Using a mothership would be necessary.\r\n
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    2015 Pathfinder 2200 TE, Yamaha VF200 SHO; 2015 Beavertail Vengeance, Suzuki DF90;
    \nJackson Coosa FD; Native Ultimate 14.5; CCA Member
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    \r\n For the freshwater, anything that mimics a baitfish for the peacocks, As adults they feed almost exclusively on fish.
    \nAlso remember that most of the freshwater canals in SFL hold good amounts of snook and tarpon. I have seen some very large 30+ pound snook in canals that are narrower than the fish are long. The freshwater tarpon will generally be juveniles up to 50lbs.
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    \nThere is one canal that I fish, that regularly catch snook, tarpon, jacks, cudas, mangrove snapper and mullet right alongside bowfin, peacocks, largemouth and gar. I have checked salinity, and have never detected any (using a digital refractometer).
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    \nThe snook and tarpon will respond best a night and to LIVE shrimp.
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    \nIn the salt, we were using vertical jigs and live shrimp.
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    \nBest thing about south FL is how cheap live shrimp are, anywhere from 1.99 to 3.99 a dozen. While we were down, we were going through 10-20 dozen per day. Usually gone before lunch then we would switch to artificial.
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    \nI don\'t how far you are comfortable paddling, but there are some pretty close patch reefs right near the indian key boat launch.
    \nWhile we were down, there was little to no current all the way to the lighthouse. We were drifting while bottom fishing, and our lines were vertical.
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    \n~Michael\r\n
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    \r\n I have also read some about flats fishing heating up in March, the beginning of spring. Is this mostly in the lower keys in early March or will this also pertain to the upper keys and southern Florida?\r\n
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    \r\n Thanks again for the responses!
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    \nNCTribute, Thanks for the advice on the Gulf, I\'m thinking of mostly traveling down south on the east coast and then fishing the gulf from flamingo or Key Largo, Islamorada and was looking more for info in those areas for the Gulf. This is mainly due to limited fishing time and drives time, I had the opportunity to fly to Ft. Myers for a similar price but opted for Palm Beach International. Not too sure why I made this choice because I did some extensive research in the Ten Thousand Island area and it looked awesome and also have a buddy with family in the Boca Grande area and only hear great things.
    \nI will probably be fishing out of Flamingo or some of the launches along the Main Park Road. then head down to the upper keys and end up near Islamorada, I\'ve also heard a lot of good things about this Key.
    \nI\'ll definitely give Capt. Mckee a call if i decide to make the trek over in his area but probably wont be making it that way. Thanks for the contact though!
    \n
    \nMicheal, Thanks for the bait info, I did a lot of research a few months ago when I purchased my tickets and now remember the peacocks don\'t care for worms which is fine by me.
    \nI didn\'t realize that the freshwater areas held the tarpon and snook that well, I\'m familiar with the salt to fresh transition in NC as my dad lives up Queens Creek in Hubert, but it sounds a little more extreme in Florida, awesome! I\'ve been meaning to pick up a refractometer from amazon, what kind do you have and does its range span all the waters you fish?
    \nThe quantity of shrimp was a good piece of information, I wouldn\'t have suspected using that many as I rarely bait fish accept with finger mullet.
    \nI am skeptical I will be venturing to the reefs, I would be comfortable doing it in a more fishable kayak given the right conditions. I\'ve done plenty of double-digit mile paddles inshore but don\'t think my collapsable kayaks will be as easy to navigate that much open water. It\'s not that far though so I will definitely put it on the list with the correct conditions. Did you go past the Indian key or fish the areas between the main keys and Indian?\r\n
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    \r\n I fish with Capt Pete Rowney in Islamorada for tarpon and backcountry, he is very dialed in on the backcountry, but like I said before having fished that area a kayak would be tough, flats boat is the way to go. Picture of the snook my brother got last spring on a fly.
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    2015 Pathfinder 2200 TE, Yamaha VF200 SHO; 2015 Beavertail Vengeance, Suzuki DF90;
    \nJackson Coosa FD; Native Ultimate 14.5; CCA Member
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    \r\n Most of the shrimp were destined to be crunched on by porgies. The magroves and other snappers readily hit yellowtail jigs with 3" gulp curly tail mullet.
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    \nThe porgies that we were after are more like sheepshead and prefer shellfish.
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    \n~Michael\r\n
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    \r\n NCTribute, right on! I\'ll be calling Capt. Rowney soon and see if we cant set up a trip while I\'m down there. And I hear you loud and clear on the yak. mostly planning to kayak mangrove near channels in the keys and then from flamingo/ the bays along the main park road in the EvergladeNP. That a nice looking snook! and it looks like a toothy critter thought it looked like a nice meal.
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    \nMichael, gotta love those porgies, delicious! I usually bottom bump with squid and might give that a shot while I\'m down there and see if it makes a hardier porgie bait than shrimp.
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    \nThanks again for the insight brothas!\r\n
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    \r\n We always take squid. But our big porgies come from the live shrimp.
    \nBut you are right, not a super hardy bottom fishing bait, and we go through a crap ton of em.\r\n
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    \r\n Address for access behind the Falls shopping Center is 13569 SW 92nd Ave Miami Fl
    \nTo have the best success with Peacocks shiners are the ticket.
    \nFor artificial baits We have the most success with jerk baits
    \nPeacock guide that will fish these same waters Scott Rose fishing. 914.588.6360
    \nLake Ida and the canals that feed it in Delray Beach have a good population of peacocks Bass and the only place in the US to catch Clown knife fish
    \n
    \nTarpon guide Jeff Maggio in Ft Lauderdale Lunkerdog.com
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    \nBass fishing the everglades Shane Procell https://floridaevergladesbassfishingadventures.com/\r\n
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    Scott..AKA Chicken Wing Man... RED X ANGLER...Father of ZachFishSlayer...2008 Cobia 19 Bay 115 yamaha...Jackson Cuda 12...1966 Crosby Sled 1997 15 HP Johnson
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    \r\n Excellent, I\'ll be sure to give yall my recap when I get back. Thanks again for the info. hopefully, my wrist will be sore from reeling and it will take a while.\r\n
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    \r\n Quote Originally Posted by sboro\r\n View Post\r\n
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    Excellent, I\'ll be sure to give yall my recap when I get back. Thanks again for the info. hopefully, my wrist will be sore from reeling and it will take a while.
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    Hope you have a great trip and that your arms, shoulders and wrists ache for a week from so many. You guys are making me home sick. I grew up around Mosquito lagoon FL. Fished it, Indian and Banana rivers. Have caught many big Snook, Seatrout, Reds etc... Would love to get a Peacock on a flyrod or ultra-light spin outfit.\r\n
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    \r\n J Scott, THanks for the tips! although I\'ve already planned out most of the trip I\'ve made plans to stop and try some of the canals near lake Ida on the way back north. I don\'t think I will plan to try for those Clown Knife fish due to time constraints but I didn\'t know they were only found in those canal systems, very interesting. It\'s wild the variety of species that can thrive in the water temps down there!
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    \nLIVIT, I\'m struggling to focus due to the anticipation! I was also reading some post on the Florida Sportsman forum and one guy was wishing to retire in NC due to red tide and other recent FWC calls in Florida, I guess the grass is always greener.\r\n
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    \r\n This thread is killing me; I really want to get down there for some fishing and paddling (which I can\'t do this winter or early spring). Best of luck and looking for a report. Thanks!\r\n
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    \r\n Back and a little sunburnt but had a stellar time with my pops and appreciate all the input. Wasnt able to make it to all the recommended locations but made the best of the time we had.
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    \nThe trip started a little odd with calling the rental car company to arrange a shuttle and having them tell me they didn\'t have the car we had reserved and would need to upgrade and upcharge us. This sounding crazy we opted to go speak in person. Sure enough, this was the case, and the only option was a highlighter yellow Camero convertible. This would have been a sweet upgrade if only they didn\'t upcharge us for it and the lack of any additional space for two kayaks bags and fishing gear looking like the Beverly Hillbillies but as the representative said: " you can either take this or I can take you back to the airport". Apparently, this company is a third party run rental service upon my recent calls to their company (located in Hong Kong) to try to clear up this upcharge. They still have not answered but seem to have time to send me messages asking how my experience was... I would not recommend Easirent rental cars to anyone in the future regardless of how enticing the rates may seem. BUT ON TO THE FISHING!
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    \nThe first night we stayed in Homestead to prep for a trip with captain Jim Hobales out of Flamingo for tarpon in the morning. Fortunately, we were able to arrange this outing seeing that by the time I looked for booking a guide most everyone was booked up for months but was fortunate enough Jim had an opening for us.
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    \nAwesome trip with Jim looking for the big silver fish with 5mph winds and the occasional cloud for relief from the 90 degree temps started out of Button canal around 7:30 working Whitewater and Oyster body for some ladyfish for bait but had a consistent bite from reds, snook and nice seatrout ( interestingly to me the seatrout apparently commonly have worms due to the warm temps so no fish were put in the cooler for later but this was no big deal due to the constant action). Once we had made gotten a dozen or so ladies in the boat we worked out way out to Ponce de Leon and Little Shark to look for some big boys. We never located any big schools of tarpon at either location but saw a good number of singles free jumping while working the banks for snook with plugs. Got a solid knockdown on a live mullet but didn\'t manage to get the hook set due to the bail flipping, but upon inspection of the mullet confirmed it had been a tarpon. Upon the tide change, we worked our way up into some of the feeder creeks on the gulf and managed a red, snook, lady or trout every cast to get the spirits back up from the missed fish. We then motored up to check Lake Ingram to see if the Tarpon were schooling there. No luck for schools but again saw a good number of singles free jumping so we stationed out self along the bank and drifted mullet again with one hit and miss. With the day coming to an end we worked out was back another feeder creek to locate some larger snook, trout and some big sharks in some shallower water. We then motored home on the gulf side making the full circle in the area which was pretty cool to see all the different areas. Ended the day with probably 10 species including those above jacks, blue runners, and a variety of snappers. A solid day with Jim and highly recommend him, he works hard to find them for you. The bait of the day was gulp white swimming mullet, 4" and the 3" ( i had never used the smaller size but worked very effectively on short striking fish)
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    \nTuesday we migrated to the Islamorada area and paddled and fished Tavernier creek out of the back Hotel and caught barracuda and snapper on plastics which exploring the mangrove near the deep channel. None were kept but many were legal and provided endless entertainment. We ended the day by paddling out to a small key on the Atlantic no biggest that 50ft that provided a sweet sunset location. We then paddled in at night and worked the dock lights covered in snapper, super cool to watch your lure hit the water and see the typically somewhat timid snapper destroy any soft plastic placed in the water.
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    \nThat was the last of the light winds as some "cooler weather", 70-80\'s, and a little rain hung around the rest of the trip, along with 20 mph wind and gust that could put your kayak on plane.
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    \nWednesday we had a slow start from the late night light fishing and the poor weather but left the house to find refuge from the wind up in flamingo again. We decided to put in at Cootbay pond and try to work our way to Mud Lake. Letting the morning winding push across Cootbay was a nice until about halfway across the wind speed picked up significantly pushing white water everywhere. our collapsable kayaks might also be doubled as some nifty kites. Never making it to Mudlake we held refuge on a nearby point and decided to toss some lures and wait till the wind died down. This was a great choice in that we ended up finding a nice school of snook and caught probably 30 fish off the point. This was fun but the wind wasn\'t letting up so we decided to push up closer to the launch against the wind to ensure we weren\'t paddling back in the dark. It seemed all he skies thought the same and there was a steady line of boats running back to Button Canal. We debated to paddle the Canal and hitchhike back to the car but decided to keep trucking as we now had a little more protection from the gusts. Taking a few breaks at every point we managed a few snooks at each and ended back at the launch with a nice sunset, less angry winds, and a single redfish to end the day. The bait of the day was my goto white pogyz on 1/8 oz weedless
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    \nThe last day we worked our way back from Homestead working canals and ponds along the highway on the way to the airport for an afternoon flight. Not the most successful day in the fish category but it wasn\'t as difficult to cast in a 20mph wind from a bank as it was a kayak. We managed a few LMB and a few spotted tilapia but no Peakcock but saw plenty but never got any to take. Finished off the trip gator hunting in the yaks at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and manages a few more LMB, after snagging a pick of the Camero in front of Trumps Miralargo for kicks.
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    \r\n Tks for sharing, sounds like you had a good trip. Those pics of the Snook made me home sick ! Till you catch Snook on light tackle or flyrod, most do not get it \r\n
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    1. #16
      Join Date
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      Excellent, I'll be sure to give yall my recap when I get back. Thanks again for the info. hopefully, my wrist will be sore from reeling and it will take a while.
      GreyGhost likes this.


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