Hey to all, I posted a thread similar to this last year about fort myers area. Coming all the way down from the frozen tundra known as Canada, my dad and I are looking to do some fishing. Last year we ended up getting a guide, and despite having some finicky fish, and multiple shots, couldn't manage to hook up with anything but the silvery sea trout.
Now this time we're looking for maybe a days fishing in Miami in biscayne bay, typically for silvery ghost (bonefish), but redfish would be a nice trade off.
Our time frame is basically march 26th - april 5th and being based out of fort myers again (grandparents place) we would be open to some other locations. We do have an opportunity to visit everglades city for a few days and could end up fishing there.
Can anyone recommend a good, experienced guide (that you've had success with)? Instead of booking the charter service that shows up first link on google, i'd like to hear experiences.
And on a side note, we have an aluminum canoe out at the place, thinking about taking this out on estero bay and trying our own hands at catching some fish. Has anyone had any similar experiences doing something like that? And maybe what we should focus on? Wondering if there is a chance to maybe step out of the canoe and stalk some fish by foot. We have had the experience fishing a river nearby that flows into the ocean, and caught quite a few species, which is always fun but no redfish, just more sea trout and smacks. But seeing those popping tails last year on the flats got my blood boiling.
If your going to fish the back bays on your own I would suggest you include Snook on your target list. They should be swimming out of the rivers and creeks about that time, the will chase most baitfish patterns and aren't nearly as skidish as Bones.
I would forget bonefish from Biscayne Bay to Marathon. They are too scarce. If I wanted to fish bones, I'd go to Big Pine and South (West)- and they are not all that plentiful there either. The freeze of the winter before last did most of the bones in and they haven't recovered.
I'd highly recommend Bob LeMay from Miami as a guide though. He fishes days out of Flamingo for tarpon, reds, snook, blacktips and knows Whitewater Bay, the Flamingo area and Cape Sable (East Cape to and including the Shark River system) extremely well. He also does night trips in Biscayne Bay primarily dock light snook and sight fishing for tarpon in the bridge lights. He is also a professional fly tier, and will have all the flies you will need as well as the gear.
It is very likely to be windy that time of year. I'd also think about fishing inland with Bonefish Whisperer, Cordell Baum. He has been fishing for inland tarpon, snook, big jacks, peacocks, and largemouth. He likes to be on the water before dawn, and knows the inland waters around (and in) the Miami area really well.
He has pretty much put West Biscayne Bay on hold , because he knows it better than anyone I've ever heard of. The bones are not back and permit are spotty. He guides from a wide, stand-up canoe. I fished with him one day just before the freeze, as he told me he could get a lot of shots at feeding permit. They showed up within about 15 minutes of his prediction and I got more shots than I could have imagined - just not the bite.
I also saw probably 300 bones, but was not after them. He likes to be on the water poling before dawn. He can easily pole that canoe 15 miles in a day, and will give you a solid day of fishing - dawn to dark. He too ties fllies of his design, but no longer sells them to shops because they take him too long and they sell out too fast. They are very complicated mantis shrimp and crab concoctions.
Just do a search for Bob Lemay and Cordell, and you will find plenty to read about from their customers.
I don't think you would go wrong with either of these guides. Tarpon and snook would be at the top of my list during your time frame. I'd forget about the bones if I were you.
There are a couple of reasons for that. One is that he doesn't charge the "going" rate, and the other is that he quit guiding the west side of Biscayne Bay after all the bones were killed off, and told his customers he wouldn't take their money for a waste of time. No doubt a bunch of them went to other guides repeating the story to see what they said.
He does see life returning now to the West Side - he says the turtle grass is starting to grow again. And he's hoping that this spring sees more fish. But it ain't going to be like it was 3 years ago. Count on it.
15 years ago, I'd have happily recommended dozens of spots between Airport Flat and Tavernier Creek for bones. But I would not recommend a single one for bones even 5 years before the freeze, much less now. I doubt many guides would be happy with me either on that score. But there are still other species around.