|The forecast for South Florida was looking poor and my wife and I actually thought about turning the plane toward Baja instead. The 7 day forecast was at 40-60% daily chance of rain so I figured we could dodge the T-Storms and make the best of it. Before we get on the plane things had increased to 90% percipitation all week. An uneventful flight and beautiful sunset drive across Alligator Alley and we were soon set for a week in Naples. I had fishing plans for the next six days so I preped gear and watched the Weather Channel keep talking about that orange blob off the Yucatan heading directly in our direction.|
I was trying to be optomistic until Monday morning the orange blob had a Name. Tropical Storm Andrea. Nice, A tropical depression was fast tracking our way and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it.
My plans for the week were to be ON the water more days than not and sight fishing beach Snook the rest of the time. It wasn't looking like either of those options were going to happen. About 10 am I decided I was just going to have to deal with it, stop bitching and go fishing and see what I could do on my own. As it turned out, I caught plenty of fish. The weather was crap but the lighting stayed away and made the hot humid weather tolerable and thankfully, fishable. This is the third Florida trip in a row where Iv'e been hit with some sort of weather related issue so I'm due for a good weather trip at some point.
I spent the majority of my time DIY fly fishing the Tamiami Trail and back roads leading to it. Iv'e traveled some great Fishing highways around the country but this has to be one of the best I've experienced in terms of variety, solitude and unique beauty. Keep in mind summer is the off season. It's hot, infested with Mesquitos, snakes, Gators and No See Ums this time of year. It is deserted for the part since the snow birds have long headed north for cooler climes.
Over the course of the week the fishing went from a slow start to a steady bite once I got my bearings. The heavy rain and small storm surge had pushed lots of tarpon deep into the backwater areas off the main channels. I believe that actually helped put fish in areas that were accessable to me, and may have otherwise not held those fish with normal water levels. Most of the tarpon were 3-5lbs. Snook were in the 15-18in class and I missed a shot at donkey on day two. The fish just simply missed the fly.
I used a 7wt for the smaller babies and a 9 for the bigger fish and just locked down and hoped things would not break. I found a couple of areas that were holding better quality Tarpon in the 20-30lb+ class. I jumped 4 or 5 bigger fish and landed two. Both in he 20lb class. The bigger specimens are difficult to handle solo, and even harder to get a photo with out damaging you, your gear or the fish so I didn't get as good of shots on the bigger fish that I would have liked too. My other concern was that since I was deep in the freshwater zone, gator's are present and are threat to you and the thrashing fish. A quick easy release is important.
Over all It was a great trip. The fishing was not easy with relentless rain, wind and Extreme humidity, bugs up the ass but I wouldn't change a thing. I look forward to going back and exploring more soon. Here are random photos in no particular order.
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