Well it’s mid-August and not surprisingly it’s a bit hot here in Islamorada and the Florida Keys. The light winds of summer can have you wishing for more wind but I love it. Slicked out conditions means spotting tails of all kinds. Redfish, bonefish and permit tails to be exact. When it’s glassy calm you can see fish on the flats from a distance, pushing, waking with tails flashing. There is nothing better, than getting a fluorocarbon fishing line to tackle them, and grab a quick bite. The flip side to glassed out conditions is the fish are far spookier. Calm conditions demand stealth. Dropped hatches and cooler lids will have happily feeding fish running for their lives. The same goes for talking too loudly. Remember, you’re hunting except you’re armed with a rod. Long leaders are not fun to cast but they’re necessary when you’re faced with those kind of conditions. Fish, especially those in shallow water, can hear and feel everything and they will keep their distance if something doesn’t feel right to them. A boat rocking from putting too much “body English” into a cast will have fish pushing off in the opposite direction from the pressure wave created. Efficiency of motion is what is needed for good casting. Forget all the pics in the magazines and the videos that show guys casting as if they’re doing some track and field event. You don’t have to double haul with your whole body!
The great news as of late has been the steadily increasing numbers of bonefish being found up and down the Keys. There have even been some schools out in the backcountry. Even better than seeing them is the fact that these fish have been juveniles. It is certainly encouraging. Along with the juvenile bonefish have been some juvenile permit as well. So cool to see bunches of five pound permit spiked up and tailing away. Sure they’re not big but who cares, they’re still permit and they will still smoke you. Redfishing and snook fishing in the backcountry of Everglades National Park is still rock solid. Look for bait, look for wakes. Still plenty of tarpon around both on the ocean and in the Flamingo area. Sizes vary, but I like finding fish in the 30 pound range. Great acrobatics and they don’t beat you up too much!
If you haven’t already picked it up, the summer issue of The Drake is out and my essay “The Hum” is featured. I had a good time writing it and I hope it’s enjoyed. It gives a little taste of what summertime fishing in the ‘glades can be like. Until next time. -Capt. Pete Rowney