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Old 08-22-2013, 08:20 PM
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Default Gators on the Fly!

Well, as reported, I drove through Miami on the way the Glades in Everglades City. The weather sucked. It was blustery, thundering and blowing like hell, so I used the ultralight spinning rod as the wind was unmanageabel for a five weight. For purists, I do tie my own jigs. :
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Anyway, I caught some small bass, some oscars and mayans and some bluegills. I also hooked into a nice small tarpon. Range report: four pound test line on a cheap Shackspeare ultralight is not going to cut it on a fifteen pound tarpon. :-) Still, I got three jumps out of him so it was cool. No peacocks or snakeheads though.

I got tired of the rain and drove west on the Tamiami Trail. Near Ochoppee, home of Joannies blue crab, a dive biker bar that's been there since the forties, I stopped to fish. I got out the fly rod and hooked a nice chicilcid. Not being born yesterday, I don't play the gentle release game practiced on trout streams. Instead I use the Florida "chuck and dunk". This consists of holding the fish at a forty five degree downward angle and propelling it into the water. This forces water into the gills, and according to FWC, gives a good survival rate. Now, why not just release the fish the normal way you might ask? Here's the answer. I was on a little bridge leading to a private house over the canal. I unhooked the fish, chunked it in and the water exploded. There was a six foot gator lying under a weed bed I'never seen. If I'd been more genteel with that fish, I'd have been short an arm. That scared the **** out of me. One minute its a calm canal, the next a six foot alpha predator is reminding me that shark week is for sissies. You gotta love the glades!

I apologize for the typos, but I'm on my tablet. I'll post as events warrant with snook and tarpon.
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:41 AM
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Default Re: Gators on the Fly!

Haha that will put a stain in your shorts!! I thought you were going to say you caught a gator on the fly when I read the title! There used to be a Tarpon guide in the glades that when the Poons were slow would fly fish for big gators ! Said he liked the fight on his 10wt as much as the Tarpon fight! Just never explained how he released them!
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Old 08-23-2013, 05:19 AM
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Default Re: Gators on the Fly!

Remember reading a similar story about a golfer who put his ball just inside a water trap and ended up beating the shxt out of a 'Gator when it came out of the water and grabbed his leg. Started to whack the thing on the head, as did the rest of his 'four-some.' A '5 iron' can be a good thing?

No one has any idea how the thing got there but brought the term 'Water Hazard' to a whole new level.
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Old 08-23-2013, 05:38 AM
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Default Re: Gators on the Fly!

A close encounter like that will put a whole new prospective on wading in gator territory.
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Old 08-23-2013, 09:24 AM
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Default Re: Gators on the Fly!

There are a lot of gators in FL....My question would be ...Do gators go into salt or brackish water?
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Old 08-23-2013, 10:47 AM
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Default Re: Gators on the Fly!

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Originally Posted by ditz View Post
There are a lot of gators in FL....My question would be ...Do gators go into salt or brackish water?
Occasionally they do. They have even been found in the ocean, but rarely. It's the Crocodiles that prefer the brackish water of the southern Everglades. Those guys are ornery even if they aren't hungry!

I wade around gators often because I grew up with them. I'll probably meet my end that way. They always seem a lot more interested in what's going on at the other end of the fly line.

Last edited by MAD777; 08-23-2013 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 08-23-2013, 11:17 AM
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Default Re: Gators on the Fly!

^funny

I was fishing some big canal that runs from the olrando area to the everglades and had a gator move up on shore about fifty feet from me. He didn't seem to have any bad intentions and wasn't being very sneaky so I wasn't "too" nervous about him and continued fishing. For the next ten or so minutes, he just sat there...doing nothing...didn't seem to be bothered my presence or constant casting motions.

Until I hooked up with a fish...

I hooked a decent bass on a popper and it instantly headed towards the direction of the gator which in turn meant that the gator was directly in my line of site. It was then that I noticed his head up and a clear focus on me and what was going on at the end of my line. As I reached down to land the fish, he turned towards me and sat there...almost as if he was begging.

I have had enough experience with stray animals and know that feeding them only keeps them coming back so I didn't give the fish to him despite my desire to see if my theory was right. In the end, that was probably the right move since he could have been destroyed if he became to comfortable around people.

A very cool experience though and I real felt at ease around the gators after that. Now the red ants are a whole different story and what I would consider to be the real danger - little SOB's
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Old 08-23-2013, 11:35 AM
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Default Re: Gators on the Fly!

Quote:
Originally Posted by theboz View Post
Haha that will put a stain in your shorts!! I thought you were going to say you caught a gator on the fly when I read the title! There used to be a Tarpon guide in the glades that when the Poons were slow would fly fish for big gators ! Said he liked the fight on his 10wt as much as the Tarpon fight! Just never explained how he released them!

Releasing them, to me, would be having one less fly line per gator caught... Cut the line and endure the loss. Getting that close to one would have me attempting to clear my genitals from my throat for weeks... Just saying... However, I am curious about the oscars... Are you talking pellet-crunching oscars, like the ones that you would purchase at an exotic pet store?
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: Gators on the Fly!

Same Oscars! Only bigger!
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:57 PM
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Default Re: Gators on the Fly!

I would catch then and keep a couple as pets. I love those fish...

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