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Fly Fishing in the Everglades

Written by Capt. Noah on Friday, 07 June 2013. Posted in Fishing Advice

The Florida Everglades, Florida Bay and Ten Thousands Islands are inhabited by a variety of unique ecosystems. Fish simply thrive in the multitude of mangrove islands, shallow bays and hidden coves that are fed by freshwater springs. In the western Everglades, shallow flats rise and fall with the incoming tides of the Gulf of Mexico. The numerous habitats in this environment are ideal for some of the most sought-after inshore game fish in the world. These fish and others promise fantastic fly fishing and they will greedily bite on almost any fly.

A myriad of fish species swim in the Everglades; the most frequently targeted being tarpon, pompano, snook, permit, bonefish, largemouth bass, peacock bass and redfish. You can catch all of them with fly tackle, which is possibly the most thrilling way to catch them. We mostly focus on sight-fishing when we are trying to catch fish on a fly. Light-motor boats power quietly through the water, while skiffs pushed with sturdy poles are even less noisy. Much of the time, we search for fish in shallow waters where we can clearly see them. We stalk our prey before we cast for them. They usually take our flies without too much fuss if we have considered their behavior and water conditions carefully.

When fly fishing in the Everglades, it is important to understand the fish you are targeting as well as their essential needs. Your target fish has certain habits that will make it easier to find them. Knowing where to cast your fly can be difficult because it differs depending on where you are fishing. Here are some tips for fly fishing in the Everglades:

Fish Seek Protection

Every living entity on the planet wants to survive and fish are no different. They will always look for protective shelter or cover. Structures such as floating logs, ledges, undercut banks and reeds are perfect hiding places. Deep water, fast-flowing or choppy water and even shade will reduce the chances of a predator seeing them.

Fish Need Food

In the Everglades, the common diet of most fish is insects and smaller fish. As fly anglers, we are interested in locating the insects (because that is what our flies resemble). In order to find the fish, we need to find the insects. Vegetation provides insects with their food source, and vegetation grows in sunlight. Look for areas where the sun reaches the water and you will be able to find vegetation where insects live. The sun cannot penetrate deep water, so avoid fishing there. Shallow, fast-flowing water mostly gets the sunlight needed, and there are always more insects near the banks.

Fish Avoid Currents

As with all animals, fish do not enjoy wasting energy. They prefer slow-moving currents as opposed to faster ones where more energy is needed to move around. On the other hand, they do need food which is mainly found in fast-moving water. This is why fish congregate in seams; which are places where the two different speeds of water meet. Your fish is likely to be swimming comfortably in the slow current and only darting out into the fast current to catch food passing by. For example, rocks break the current and many fish hunt from there.

If you take these factors into consideration, you will be able to find big inshore fish regardless of where you are in the Everglades. You can cast a variety of flies into areas where insects thrive; where fish can get to them easily without expending unnecessary energy or revealing themselves to predators. If you can see the fish, then cast ahead of it and tempt it with your most convincing fly techniques.

Call us to book your Everglades Fly Fishing Charter and experience the magnificent challenge.

About the Author

Capt. Noah

Capt. Noah

Noah is a United States Coast Guard licensed captain and PADI divemaster. He grew up in South Florida and has a passion for all things involving water. He is one of the rare bread of boaters who loves sailing and power boating. Noah sails competitvely and enjoys travelling, photography, and cooking. 


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