Where do we leave from? Typically we depart from Parkway Village Marina in Chokoloskee. However, we do leave from other places sometimes. If that changes, we'll let you know. Here is map to get you there ...
When do we leave and how long are the trips? There is not a set time frame or schedule ... it is fishing. However, on the full day trips, we are usually away from the dock for about nine hours. The half-day trips are about five. When we leave depends on the tides, when the fish have been biting, what we are targeting and the weather the day of the trip. Most instances we do leave very early in the morning (sunrise) as the weather and water conditions are usually better for kayak fishing then.
Where are we going to fish? The Park is vast with many different types of ecosystems. Where we fish depends on many factors, such as what species we are targeting, where we have been catching fish in previous days, tides, etc. However, many anglers request that we fish in particular areas when they book the trip, if practical on the day of the trip we try to accommodate. Very popular are the trips to Wizard Creek, Chatham River, Huston River, Lostman's River, the Turkey Keys, House Wood and Highland Beach. We do special trips frequently to unique locations ... check the website and the schedule regularly.
Kayak Fishing Drift Trips. We offer several unique trips to fish the mangrove lakes and creek tunnels. On these trips, we actually truck the kayaks to a launch site at the head waters of a creek or river. Timed with an outgoing tidal flow, we drift/paddle through lush mangrove canopies and tunnels between connecting lakes. The scenery is spectacular. These lakes and creeks can be loaded with tarpon and snook. At the end of a the drift fishing, we have a transport boat waiting for us for the return trip to the dock.
Can I harvest fish? These scheduled kayak trips are CPR ... catch, photo and release. Handling and storing the harvest of six anglers on the Yak Attack is not practical. However, some anglers do bring insulated catch bags. You are welcome to do the same, but please be prepared to clean, store and ice your own catch. We do not allow fish in the drink and food coolers. Also, from a safety perspective, we do not allow the use of stringers.
What does Everglades Kayak Fishing furnish? We provide complete rigged and outfitted fishing kayaks & "sit-on-tops". Presently, we are using Heritage Redfish 12s and Native Ultimate's14s These are very dry and stable boats. Many anglers are able to stand up and sight fish from these kayaks. Each is rigged with three rod holders. Behind your seat, there is one flush mount and one "Scotty's" rod holder. Forward of the seat is a another "Scotty's". The Scotty's can handle spinning, bait cast or fly rods. The flush mount will not hold a fly rod.
Each kayak also is equipped with a comfortable, cushioned adjustable seat. A fiberglass paddle, paddle leash, PFD and signal whistle. Each has a anchor system consisting of a anchor trolley, folding grapple anchor and drift chute.
We do not supply rods, reels and tackle. A vast majority of our anglers prefer to bring there own. However, we do have rental setups (spinning rod and reel and tackle box) available for $50.
There is a large iced cooler aboard the Yak Attack to hold your drinks, snacks and lunches.
What do I need to bring? You will want to have good sun protection ... hats, polarized sunglasses, sun block at a minimum. We also suggest light weight, long sleeve "fishing" shirts and pants. We do have oysters here and they are sharp, so, protective footgear that you do not mind getting wet is required. Most use "flat boots", some bring waders, but old sneakers are used by many. However, sandals and "slaps" are not acceptable. If you have a hand-held VHF radio, please bring it.. they are very useful on these trips
We have given up trying sort out who wants pickles and who does not like mustard. Please bring your own lunch, snacks and drinks. There is a large iced cooler on board, but the little soft-sided "six-pack" coolers are handy. The Yak Attack is an open boat and she is quick. A light jacket for the morning ride is usually advisable. It is cooler than you think moving at 35 mph in a open boat. Bug juice is also a good idea ... just in case.
As you are in your own boat, you will need to have a valid Florida fishing license. These are available online for about $17. You will also need to complete a Kayak Rental Release Form (PDF). If you can down load it and have it filled out before we leave, that would be helpful ... one less thing to do in the morning.
What tackle to you recommend? Traditional gear ... medium to medium heavy rods work well & 6.5 to 7' in length. Ten to twelve pound mono or 20 lb (8lb diameter) braids like "Power Pro" are perfect for most trips. I use a light action 7' rod with 10/2 Power Pro. (However, I often get "spanked" by bigger fish when fishing near the mangroves). You should have a bite tippet of 20-40 pound floro ... 30 lb is a good compromise.
Lures ... My standard is a ¼ oz. red Cotee Jig head with their three inch gold metal flake shad tail. The nickel Zara Puppy is great, but in the summer, I toss a Super Spook with 3X strength hooks. Berkley Gulps baits are very good. The most productive that I have found are the small molting shrimps and the small white twister tails on the red jig heads. White salt water Bass Assassins rigged to a 1/16 oz jig head drives the small tarpon nuts. The 19MR and 17MR MirroLures are great bait for snook.. The smaller DOA shrimp are also good ... I use the "glow" and chartreuse. A DOA bait buster (white) is also good bait for tarpon and snook.
Fly rods ... in the kayaks, the most common rods will be in the 6- to 8-weight range, loaded with weight forward (WF) floating line. In areas of deeper or faster water, a sinking line, or line with exchangeable shooting sections is very effective. Most of the shooting heads are 30' in length ... one angler who fly fishes regularly in the kayaks, prefers to shorten the heads to 24'. Class tippet can be as light as 12 pound for the open areas around the Gulf, but increase to 16-20 pound range for the backcountry where the battle is to turn the big fish before they reach the cover of the mangrove roots. A 30-40 pound fluorocarbon shock (bite) tippet is a necessity due to the rough mouths of moderately-sized snook.
Flies ... There are so many different types of areas that almost any fly will work somewhere.
A few general thoughts on fly selection:
We have confidence in the following patterns; Hook sizes 2 to 3/0:
- Weedguards may be the key to a relaxing and rewarding day on the water allowing you to present your fly right at the strike zone with a reduced risk of snagging.
- Flies that push water should be considered in those areas with lower water clarity.
- Include a few weighted flies for faster water or deeper areas.
- Clouser Minnow - Chartreuse/white, Brown/tan, Pink
- Enrico Puglisi (EP) baitfish; White/chartreuse for the "front" and brown in the backcountry
- Gurglers - nice prospecting fly in the shallows; Chartreuse/white, white, yellow
- Glades Deceiver; traditional and effective EvergladesPattern for the backcountry
- Seaducer - classic pattern, still produces; red/yellow
- Mirrolure ; the World Record Snook was caught on this fly near Chokoloskee; Red/white, red/brown, tan/brown
- Muddler - good backcountry creeks/channels when tied on bigger SW hooks - black or brown
- Rattlesnake ; a good pattern for stained or murky water