Sick as a Dog SW Florida Fishing Report

Sick as a Dog SW Florida Fishing Report

A lot has gone on since my last report. I’ve been quite sick, and I fished a couple places in SW Florida, and more. Thus the sick as a dog SW Florida fishing report.

Vanishing Paradise

This came in from Lisa Snuggs-
If you ever dreamed of fishing South Florida, book your trip now because it’s fading fast. About all most people know is some beaches have been closed due to algae blooms, but a few beach closings are only the tip of the iceberg. Fisheries from Okeechobee to Florida Bay are in desperate peril, but so few are talking about it, sportsmen from other parts of the country are wholly unaware.
Did you know?
– Over 47,000 acres of seagrass in St. Lucie and The Indian River Lagoon have been destroyed by algae blooms
– Salinity in Florida Bay is now twice the normal level
– In 2016 a toxic algae bloom covered 239 square miles of Okeechobee
– The Everglades are slowly choking to death
– The Biscayne Aquifer is slowly drying up due to low water flows in the Everglades (8 million people depend on this water source)
– This is a manmade problem
– It can be fixed
This month, Vanishing Paradise is conducting a major push among bloggers to bring awareness to sportsmen because they are the true voice of conservation. Please contact us; we have the information and interview contacts to make a quick turnaround possible. Help us fight for the sport.
Bill Cooksey
Vanishing Paradise

This reporter has been trying to get people worked up about declining water quality for years. We should all be helping Mr. Cooksey. Letters to your politicians, folks!

OK, the week’s events.

Last Saturday Susan and I and the canoe drove to south Florida to attend Maxx’s graduation ceremony. He now holds a Master’s Degree in Medical Science- he is a physician’s assistant. He has a job interview tomorrow. Good luck, son!

Fly in the ointment- my nose was getting seriously runny. It would get much worse.

Sunday we went to Art Basel. It was so cool. Miami’s art scene flourishes!

Monday we took Susan to Fort Lauderdale and sent her home on an airplane. Then Maxx and I went to Hard Rock Stadium to see the Patriots play the Dolphins.

Here we are at Hard Rock Stadium.


A stirring national anthem at the Hard Rock Stadium.

Minor problem- the Patriots lost.

Tommy B, doing what he does.

Another minor problem- the temperature was in the low 50’s. Now obviously sick, trying to maintain my body temperature in that environment was difficult. But, it was the only NFL game I’ve ever attended, I love the Patriots, and we stayed until the last minute.

Tuesday we drove to Everglades City, dropped the canoe into the bay, and paddled toward the Gulf of Mexico. An island in Everglades National Park would be our home for the next three nights. We located our Paradise and set up camp. I was spent. Seriously exhausted and feverish after all this, I was in my sleeping bag right at sunset. At least I had my own personal physician.

sw florida fishing report

The trout fishing was as good as I’ve ever seen.

In the morning we went fishing. The trout fishing was as good as I’ve ever had. Anywhere. The dink fish were 15 inches long, most were around 20, and Maxx got a handful of three and four pounders. Then, just to punctuate the fishing with an exclamation point, Maxx hooked and boated a snook in the 10 pound range, just awesome.

sw florida fishing report

Maxx has another one.

Seriously exhausted and feverish after all this, I was in my sleeping bag right at sunset. Curious, I stuck a thermometer under my tongue. 102 degrees. The fever broke at some point during the night.

sw florida fishing report

Maxx and his snook.


sw florida fishing report

And the snook is released.

The next morning we did some more exploring. Not every place had fish, but when we found some they were stacked up. We got two at a time, over and over. No snook this day, though. No lizardfish, either. Maxx got a single crevalle and a single ladyfish. Other than that all we caught were fat, healthy seatrout. We only saw a few redfish all day.

sw florida fishing report

Another Everglades seatrout.


sw florida fishing report

Maxx has yet another trout.

When we got back to camp we had neighbors, a school trip from University of South Florida. Young and full of energy, the college students got a campfire going. I stayed up long enough to watch Sirius ascend, then went and crashed.

sw florida fishing report

I felt well enough to watch the sun set.

Maxx and I went fishing for an hour or so the next morning. He wanted to bring a few trout home. Somewhere in there another snook bit and provided some real excitement!

sw florida fishing report

We hooked a couple other snook, but this was the only other one we caught.


sw florida fishing report

And it gets released…

Back at camp, we packed up and paddled back to Everglades City. Maxx drove back to Miami, I to Fort Myers to visit Alex.

Alex and I drove out to Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in the morning. We launched the canoe on the nose of the incoming tide and went exploring. We did not find much. I caught a mangrove snapper that maybe was four inches long, and a snook that was maybe eight. We saw three redfish and that was it. I’d never been there, always wanted to go, and was disappointed in the color of the water (brown) and the fishing results. That’s fishing!

sw florida fishing report

Alex hit a redfish on his first cast.

Sunday morning we drove to Matlacha and tried it there. Alex hit a redfish on his first cast, nice fish too. It did not last. I got a 20″ trout, he got two dinker snook. The water looks awful, brown, full of black Rhodophyta algae, and very little grass. Mosquito Lagoon is not the only place with water quality issues.

sw florida fishing report

And the winner is!

I drove home this morning and went straight to bed once I got here. I hope I shake this soon.

And that is the sick as a dog SW Florida fishing report.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2017. All rights are reserved.

Improving (?) Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report

Improving (?) Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report

mosquito lagoon fishing report

A vintage file photo of Rich Surprise releasing a Mosquito Lagoon red.

I am really hoping this is an improving Mosquito Lagoon fishing report.

This one is short and sweet- going out of town in the morning. May not have a report next week- oh the humanity!

Monday Brian and Robin were out with me on the lagoon. The water was dirty, all the fish were small. It was a gorgeous day and they were pretty happy, but I was not pleased with the catching. Maybe I’m spoiled?

Wednesday Canadian George joined me for some fishing and some Mosquito Lagoon instruction. We circumnavigated the lagoon, from Haulover down to Max Hoeck Creek, up to Georges Bar, and back to Haulover. There was a lot of clean water. There were LOTS of manatees.

There were not lots of fish (other than dinker trout), or much seagrass, but the fact the water is clearing is great. It must have cooled off enough to kill the stuff growing in it. All the bare bottom is heartbreaking, though.

Friday Chris Olsen and his buddy joined me for the same kind of day I’d had on Wednesday. We did more fishing, less running. The first place we went was a spot I hadn’t visited in a while. Exposed to the east wind, it wasn’t a place to visit during the months of easterlies.

There was seagrass there.

Using DOA CAL shad the fishermen caught and released five redfish, all slot fish, in a little over an hour. There were fish tailing!!! We saw some jumbo trout!!!

We did not see much anywhere else, one here, one there, a few dinker trout, but the thing is, we could see in many of the places we looked. So the water clarity is definitely improving. I have a wait-and see attitude to see if the fishing gets better, but this trip was the most encouraging one since September. Good stuff.

mosquito lagoon fishing report

Another file photo, this one of Steve Baker, also on Mosquito Lagoon.

And that, dear reader, is the improving (?) Mosquito Lagoon fishing report. Thanks for reading!

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2017. All rights are reserved.

Outta Town Orlando Fishing Report

Outta Town Orlando Fishing Report

Let’s go straight to the Orlando Fishing Report-

Sunday Paul and Garrett Santini joined me for a day’s fishing on the Indian River Lagoon. I somehow got the idea they were fly fishers. They were not. Thank God I brought a spin rod backup. Garrett, who attends Lehigh University, had once had a fly fishing lesson. I augmented it enough that he could fish with the fly rod while dad used the spinner. We missed a few strikes but it was tough fishing, windy, cloudy, and dodging rain. Paul got a single redfish with a RipTide weedless jig/DOA CAL jerkbait combination at the end of the trip and that was it for the day.

orlando fishing report

We dodged rainstorms all morning.

Tuesday Capt. Bruce Eaton again joined me for some IRL fishing, this time with his son Val. Last week I wrote the Capt. Bruce flew a 737. CORRECTION- he flies a 747. We had continuous clouds and wind and basically it was impossible to sight fish. Bruce did not get a shot. Val, using a spin rod and the same RipTide weedless jig/DOA CAL jerkbait combination, got two redfish, smallish ones, and two trophy puffers. We wrapped it up around 1130.

orlando fishing report

Val’s first redfish was not gigantic, but he did get some.

Tuesday I took the kayak down the Econ for some last minute bass fishing. It was a decent bite, with bass, redbellies, stumpknockers, and especially gar. They seemed especially aggressive. The biggest bass I got was maybe two pounds, no big ones. The water was a little higher than last week, and a bit dirtier, too.

Wednesday morning Susan and I caught a 737 out of OIA and spent most of the day travelling. On Thursday we went to a musem where I took this photo. The first person who can tell me the artist and/or the town gets a copy of Flyrodding Florida Salt.

orlando fishing report

Who’s the artist? Where is the art?

We did some very non-fishy things on Friday and are travelling again on Saturday and Sunday.

And that is this week’s Outta Town Orlando Fishing Report from Spotted Tail.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2015. All rights are reserved.

When Are Tailing Redfish Best?

When Are Tailing Redfish Best?

tailing redfish mosquito lagoon, orlando area fishing report

This email came from a reader of my blog:

Hi John-

I’ve been a subscriber to your newsletter for about a year and it is great. Thank you for the effort.

I purchased a winter home at Lighthouse Cove two years ago and last year bought a flats boat. I am a lifelong fly fisherman from up north who has fallen in love with tailing redfish. Last winter I found a respectable number of tailers in the evenings and even managed to catch a few. We came back down two weeks ago and I have been out six times early in the mornings and have yet to see a tailer. My question is this- are evenings a better time to search for tailers?

I have caught several reds already by blind casting but I really want to cast to tailers. As you can probably tell, I am an addicted dry fly fisherman up north. Thanks again.


My answer-

First off, thank you for your question about tailing redfish and the kind words.

Concerning your question- Yes. No. Sometimes. All of the above.

It’s not winter yet. The water is still quite high (see the gauge here…). The fish may be in the same places you were finding them last winter doing the same thing, but you can’t see them because the water is too deep. Or they may not be in those places at all. Things change all the time. The fish’s location often varies by season.

In the winter (for our purposes after Thanksgiving) the days are short and the nights are long. The water temperatures are often below the 70 degrees favored by redfish. When is it warmest? Late in the afternoon. Where is it warmest? In shallow water, where tailing activity is obvious. So in the winter, evenings are often the best time to find tailers.

You didn’t ask about this, but the situation is reversed in the summer. The crack of dawn is usually best for tailers when it’s hot. The water temperature is in the 80s or even 90s and the coolest water is in the shallows before the sun comes up.

Please keep in mind the fish don’t read the books and they do what they want, not what I or you or anyone else thinks they should be doing. You will find exceptions to my generalizations. So the best time to go fishing is whenever you can, and the best time to catch fish is when they’re biting.

I hope this helps with your understanding of tailing redfish. Good luck, and let me know when the tailing activity improves, please!



Why Won’t That Redfish Bite?

“They’ve gotta eat sometime.” We’re talking about fish here. Fish we want to, but can’t, catch. Uncooperative fish.

Compared to mammals, fish are simple creatures. A redfish brain, about the size of a garden pea, is not real good at analyzing things. In spite of this apparent simplicity, their behavior is maddeningly unpredictable sometimes. Have you ever asked yourself, “Why won’t they eat?”

When a redfish hatches from the egg it is hardly visible to the human eye. In three years it’s grown to 27 inches long and about seven pounds in size. Clearly, they must eat quite a bit in order to do this.

Favorite items of the redfish diet include shrimp, crabs, and small fish. Sometimes they feed very aggressively on anything that moves. Other times (and many guides have told me they’ve seen this many times) you can toss a live shrimp into a school of redfish and not get a single taker. Why won’t they eat?

A friend of mine once told me that when the US Government makes the tide predictions that it uses in the Coastal Pilot, it feeds 16 separate factors into the computer that is making the model. There are six others that are not considered significant enough to consider. Tides are a purely physical phenomenon.

A fish is a biological entity. I can’t even begin to comprehend all the factors that must affect its behavior. Water temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, turbidity, current, wind, waves, atmospheric pressure, moon phase, boat traffic, fishing pressure, these are just a few of the things that affect the behavior of fish.

Unlike us, fish are cold blooded. We have to eat constantly just to maintain our body temperature. Fish don’t. When the water is cold they can go days without eating.

In my line of work I fillet quite a few redfish. I always check their stomachs to see what they’ve been eating. About 25 percent of the time they haven’t been eating anything.

So, why aren’t they eating? The fish aren’t talking, so I don’t know. Trying to figure it out is part of what makes fishing such a fascinating endeavor for us.

But they’ve gotta eat sometime.

Capt. John Kumiski (407.977.5207, has been guiding fishermen for over 20 years. His most recent book is titled Redfish on the Fly.

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2011. All rights are reserved.