Fishin’ the Dirty

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When I tell clients that we are going to ‘fish the dirty’ they tend to give me a puzzled look, but at the end of the day they totally get it. January is a month dominated by the weather but even on the coldest windiest days there is always somewhere to fish comfortably. There are hundreds of miles of shallow water creeks and backcountry to fish in Everglades National Park that can be quite protected during those windy stretches we experience this month. Most of these areas have very murky waters especially during the windy days, hence the term “fishin’ the dirty”. wc-20140208_122750Most days we fish the bottom with simple knocker rigs, live shrimp or cut bait like ladyfish or mullet. Artificial lures like gulp shrimp and jerk baits rigged weedless then bounced across the bottom work as well but bait is best. Typically we catch redfish, black drum, sheepshead, snook, snapper, seatrout, jack, shark and the unavoidable catfish all on light tackle. As to how many and which species depends on the tides, weather and the attitude of the day. Most of these areas are very protected from the wind and totally tide dependant. Fish move in and out of areas with the rise and fall of the tide. So predicting the movements of the fish takes lots of time and effort. Over the course of the day we also will typically encounter crocodiles, dolphins, turtles, bald eagles, raccoons and lots of different migratory birds. It’s like a safari and fishing charter all rolled into one. One year, we had a flock of pink flamingos in different stages of development (from adult to juvenile) hanging out in Lake Ingram for an entire month. I have seen grown men cringe at the sight of a 12+ft crocodile sunning itself on a muddy embankment. Getting to the area we are fishing can be another adventure in itself. Either we trailer over to Flamingo and fish out of there or we take the ride across the bay. Both alternatives have their advantages. If we trailer over, it is usually a 2-hour ride in the car to get to the ramp - however you get to spend more time fishing. If we ride over, it typically takes an hour to get to the fishing grounds but you have a shorter ride back to the dock. Either way you are sure to have some stories about your adventure into the Everglades when you get back home. wc-20131129_092005It is time to celebrate! The 29th Annual Keys Chapter CCA Dinner and Live Auction will be held February 19, 2015 at the Elks Lodge #1872 in Tavernier MM 92.6. There will be exciting raffle and auction items: local and exotic trips;  fishing charters from some of the best Upper Keys guides; artwork; jewelry; Yamaha engines; fishing gear; Contender, Hells Bay, Pathfinder Boats, and much, much more!  Dinner will be catered by the Texas Cattle Company; tickets will be $85 per person, $160 per couple, and $1050 for corporate tables (10 people). For more information contact Tom Tharp or Matthew Behm (305) 853-6198, email at ttharp2@bellsouth.net; mbehm@ccaflorida.org. The CCA is a national, non-profit marine organization working in an advocacy role to protect each state’s marine resources and interests of saltwater anglers. In these times of uncertainty with anglers being threatened with possible fishery closures, the CCA is fighting for the rights of saltwater anglers everywhere. So come and support the CCA February 19, 2015 and help ensure that future generations will be able to fish the same waters as we do every day. See you there! For those of you who know me, know that to me, fishing is more than just a game it is a way of life. So fish hard and fish often!


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