Capt. Becky Campbell from Everglades City
Well, here we are again with July just around the corner. The weather is starting to get predictable and so is the fishing.
We are starting to have our afternoon thunderstorms pretty consistently. Seems like they are a bit late this year, but better late then never.
They (the thunderstorms) build in the late afternoon and usually start raining in the evenings. This is very much needed for a couple reasons.
Number 1 - the rains cools everything off quite a bit which is very much appreciated.
Number 2 - it floods the wetlands and makes the water flow out of our backwaters into the passes and river mouths. This is where the Big fish (snook) come this time of year to bunch up before spawning. Tarpon are in the passes along with the snook and your chances of hooking into a Silver King are pretty good.
SNOOK are on the beaches, in the passes and also around the river mouths. We are starting to hook up on and catch some Big fish (snook) up to 40”. Now talk about exciting, think about it. Free-lining a pinfish, white bait or shrimp on light tackle and having one of these monsters grab your bait and almost pull the rod out of your hand. That will wake you up really fast while in the split second he is up and dancing on the surface trying to throw the hook back in your face, then making your drag sing like you have never heard before. Gets us excited just thinking about it. There is nothing better sounding than a singing drag, unless it happens to be your reel that’s doing the singing.
TARPON seem to be everywhere and you never seem to know when they are going to eat your bait. These fish are running from 50# to 175# with the average size about 100#. They are up on the flats, on the edges of the flats, in the passes and along the beaches. Therefore we fish for them while we are fishing for snook, redfish, trout and pompano. Now tackle busters are what these guys are as they will put you and your equipment to the max.
TROUT are feeding well and are still really nice in size. This has been a good year for big trout. We are catching them up on the flats and also on the edges of the flats and in the channels. Artificial and/or live baits along with a popping cork are our favorite way to fish for them. A lot of fish being caught with no problem catching a good mess for a dinner or two.
REDFISH are working the edges of rocks and around the oyster bars. We like to free-line small pinfish or shrimp. Artificial will work also. Most of the fish are in the slot size, meaning you can take some home for a blackened redfish meal. So no matter whether you like to use live bait or artificial bait, redfish can be a lot of fun to catch and also good to eat.
POMPANO are still around and they are big in size. We catch them also while fishing for trout. They are usually on the edges of the flats. We target pompano in a couple different ways. The easiest way and also very productive is the shrimp under a popping cork. Pompano jigs are a great way to catch them also. These fish are running 2-4 lbs. This is a great tasting fish for the table.
For the last 3 days, I fished Mike, his son Craig, and a friend David from N. J. The weather was perfect and the fishing was good also. We started our day off catching our limit of nice size trout and a 4 lb pompano. Then we went to try and catch some redfish and snook. We didn’t do so well on the redfish, but we did catch some snook. They counted and said we landed 5. These fish we up to 30 inches. Just the right size and a lot of fun to catch. When back in the River at the dock the guys tried their luck at tarpon fishing (baby tarpon). They each jumped one for a total of 3 so the score is Tarpon 3 guys 0. We have several restaurants here in town that will cook your catch for you. They chose the Seafood Depot for dinner that night. Said “wow, these fish were really good” so the next day we headed down south to catch some more for dinner that night. We started out trying again to catch some redfish and with no luck returned to the trout flat to catch enough for dinner that night. With no problem catching trout we then decided to try for snook and redfish again. On the first cast, David got a hold of a nice size snook…..well, snook 1 boat 0. As the story goes on the final score was snook 5 and boat 9. Needless to say, that was a fun bite. When that was over we decided to call it a day and head back to clean the fish for a tasty dinner. Mike tried his luck again at Tarpon. Well, tarpon 1 Mike 0. The next and last day of fishing we had a rather slow day. Again trying for snook and redfish we landed 2 snook and lost a couple. On to trout fishing we went to catch a few and some ladyfish and big catfish. But the story hasn’t ended yet. About a half hour before the trip ended, I made the comment that we hadn’t got a hold of a tarpon while trout fishing for 3 days. Usually, the odds of jumping a big tarpon are better than that. Well, within about 10 min. of making that statement, Mike yelled, tarpon and as we all turned to him, up up up in the air came this huge fish. A tarpon it was and huge it was. Bright and silver this fish of about 125-135 lbs jumped (about 10 feet from the boat) and threw the hook. What a site that was to see. Really gave us something to talk about for the rest of the trip. On the way back to the dock we came by the bird rookery to take a look at some of the birds. The guys took a lot of pictures of the trip and I can’t wait to see them. We saw lots of wading birds some turtles, manatees, dolphins and rays, along with a couple white pelicans that have been left behind from winter. What a great trip they had (me too).
So come on, give us a call (239-695-2029) the weather is getting hot, but so is the fishing.
Capt. Becky Campbell & Capt. Fred Barfield
239-695-2029 - 239-695-4663