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Southeast U.S. Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Post fishing reports, ask for information, discuss this area...

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Old 12-22-2013, 06:17 PM
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Default February in Florida

So I've been fly fishing for just two years in the driftless area of Minn, Wisc and Iowa, and now I have a chance to spend the last two weeks of February around Naples in Florida. I've been reading the threads, trying to pick up some pointers on what to expect, I bought a 10 wt rod and reel combo and I'm sure to find some guide service there to get me started. I do get wrist fatigue fairly quickly even with my 5 wt but I can cast all day with my 3 wt.

I guess I'm wondering if there is any point in bringing my 3 wt with me and if so, what would I be fishing for? I also have a 5 and 6 wt I could use.

Like other newbie posts, I'd be grateful for any pointers or wisdom that might be out there,

JT
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Old 12-22-2013, 09:20 PM
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Default Re: February in Florida

JT, I'm in the same boat. I also fish the driftless and will also be in Naples in February, though I'll be there early in month. Last year I went the DIY route and sight fished from the beach and fished wiggins pass on the incoming tide. I got the skunk. This year I plan on fishing some of the back bays via boat. I may also get a guide for a day. I'm eager to learn more if anyone else posts.
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Old 12-23-2013, 12:23 AM
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Default Re: February in Florida

Quickdraw,

Yea, the whole tide thing is a new concept, like you can't just show up when you want to, you have to know what tide it is. Even basic accessories stuff like those gloves that prevent sun and line burn or those shoe thingies for wading in the surf. It's a whole new game. I'll be looking for books and blog sites a lot until then, I recon.
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:09 AM
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Default Re: February in Florida

Yeah if I figure anything out I'll let you know. There's a free kindle book that I just read called Snook on a fly, it's great and worth a read. Seems to be concentrated on the Naples area. As for boots I haven't gotten any yet, I spent most of my time on the beach and not in the water. I saw a ton of fish last year but I couldn't get any interested. I think feb is a slow time for fishing down there but I have had great fishing down there in feb.
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Old 12-23-2013, 11:42 AM
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Default Re: February in Florida

Thanks for the tip on the snook book in kindle. I'll look for that. Good luck on your trip!
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Old 12-23-2013, 04:06 PM
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Default Re: February in Florida

Hi JT, I'll toss in my $.02 in case it helps.

I'm in Ohio, and fish freshwater here and Michigan mostly, but in the last year and a half have done a half dozen guided saltwater trips in FL and the Caribbean- mostly because I was either there for work or on a family vacation. Did two trips into the Everglades, one of which was from the Marco Island/Goodland area south of Naples. I'd say a 10wt is overkill unless you're going after tarpon or monster redfish; I've fished my 8wt Sage Approach almost exclusively for redfish, snook, seatrout, bonefish and small jacks; big, deeper water jacks or other species would require the 10wt (or heavier), though. There definitely is a difference in throwing the heavier rod/lines- so either get used to it before you go, or drop down a bit. Not much point in fishing anything smaller than a 6-7wt- s/w fish are much stronger and usually much bigger than fresh- so you will need the stronger rod. I don't know what you'd catch on a 3wt but if you did it might break your rod!

Definitely practice your casting as much as possible, with whatever rod you are going to use. I'd suggest getting some coaching from a certified instructor if available near you, as well- nothing will improve/enhance your experience more. A guide can put you on fish, rig your pole and line properly, get the right flies on- but he can't cast it for you- and you will need to be able to put it out there where he tells you to be successful! The wide open spaces of the s/w world will be a bit of culture shock for you- and you will need to be able to get a fly out much farther than you would anywhere in fresh (with the possible exception of some of the big rivers of the northwest.)

Here's another book suggestion for you- Fly Fishing in Saltwater (Third Edition), by Lefty Kreh. Great info all the way through done by one of the masters. I got a copy from my local library, read it cover to cover, then bought a copy to keep for reference. PM me if I can answer any further questions for you- I'm not an expert, but was in your same shoes a little over a year ago!
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Old 12-24-2013, 01:32 AM
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Default Re: February in Florida

Rider,

Thanks for the $.02. I'll be looking for Lefty's book and looking for some ways to learn to cast that big stick in the next month or so. Hopefully this trip will be a door opener to some great memories. I appreciate your comments.
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:08 AM
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Default Re: February in Florida

I fish out of Naples/Everglades City all the time. In fact I am headed there in about three days. Bring both the three and the six weight. You will get plenty of use out of both.

If you drive East out of Naples on 41, the Tamiami Trail, once you hit Collier Seminole State Park and on East to Everglades city, the canals are a paradise for baby tarpon, snook, bass and sundry exotic panfish. Throw clousers and micro poppers in chartreuse and white and brown and orange on the three. Don't skimp on the flash. I spent today tying up some size ten mini clousers to fish my three weight there. You will lose fish, particularly if you snag a big bass or snook, but on Oscars and 12"-18" tarpon the three is a blast.

As for the six weight I use it three times as much as my ten weight. This time of year the big tarpon are gone. Its about jacks, ladyfish, seatrout, some snook, reds and mangrove snappers. You might hit blues or mackeral outside.The wind and the size of the fly determine which rod I use, much more than the size of the fish. Again clousers, shrimp patterns, decievers, seaducers etc are your go to flies. You want a moving tide over a hard bottom, flats edge, creek mouth or against the mangroves. Transition points are key. Drop offs, funnel points, a rising or falling tide where shallow water transitions into deeper water and carries bait with it or on the rise allow the reds into the shallows are what you want. Basically anywhere a fish can be and have the food come to it, just like trout. As a general rule reds and snook eat early on the rise and late on the fall, seatrout and lady fish more toward the mid point when the water is deeper. But this varies. The most critical thing is that the water needs to be moving. Slack tides are a dead time.

Also, bring two spinning rods. An ultralight for the canals and creeks where there is no room for a back cast and the fish are small, but load it with ten pound braid. But most importantly bring a medium weight 10-12# rig. In the winter we get frequent fronts. The temperature doesn't drop much, but the wind kicks up. Plus, even a five degree dip will have the fish holding deep. Here you want a 1/8 th oz. jig head with a two or so inch GULP curly or pogie tailed minnow in white. Let it sink and retrieve it slow to medium with a jigging action. The fish often bite on the fall. Good luck, and feel free to PM me.

PS Contact Mangrove Outfitters in Naples. They are a top notch fly shop and will hook you up.

Last edited by fq13; 12-26-2013 at 03:10 AM.
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: February in Florida

Hey fq13,

Thanks for that really helpful response. That gives me hope and some great intel! I'm even wondering if that 10 wt I got is too big for a first time trip. It's an Echo Ion that I got at the big box store CXXXXX's, which I have dubbed "the shrine of ever expanding temptations." I'm wondering if an 8 wt would be a more fitting do-all size. At any rate, it's consoling to know I should be able to find some action with the smaller rods too. Merry Christmas to you!
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:05 PM
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Default Re: February in Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtliving View Post
Hey fq13,

Thanks for that really helpful response. That gives me hope and some great intel! I'm even wondering if that 10 wt I got is too big for a first time trip. It's an Echo Ion that I got at the big box store CXXXXX's, which I have dubbed "the shrine of ever expanding temptations." I'm wondering if an 8 wt would be a more fitting do-all size. At any rate, it's consoling to know I should be able to find some action with the smaller rods too. Merry Christmas to you!
Unless you have visions of permit or big tarpon dancing in your head, you would probably be happier with a fast 8 wt. If you can exchange it.. A ten is great for big fish or a knife fight with a snook under a dock, or in deep water where you need the backbone, but frankly its over kill most of the time. I have fished a Loomis ten for years and like it, but it ain't a lot of fun to cast all day. I'd tend to use my six instead unless the wind was up. I recently bought an eight weight clearwater from Orvis and its noticeably lighter and it will deal with wind better than the six.

If you have time do fish the trail There is a lot of light weight fun to be had there. You pull off at the bridges and bank fish. The Port of the Islands spillway, halfway between Naples and Everglades is a must fish, and the canals running along the roads into Everglades and the Baron River are also great. Go ten miles East and you hit Joni's Blue Crab, a great dive bar from the 1940's in Ochoppee. In Everglades hit City Seafood, an open air joint on the Baronn River which has the best fried grouper and cheapest stone crabs around. Feel free to PM me.


PS Be sure to check the regs. I think Reds and Snook are closed in February so its C@R only. I honestly don't pay much attention as I C@R both species, but it can be an expensive mistake to make. Most other species should be open if you want a fish dinner.

Last edited by fq13; 12-26-2013 at 05:33 PM.
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