July 18, 2012
Everglades City is the kind of place that conjures up thoughts of adventure and intrigue. Nestled deep in the Everglades, it is the gateway to the 10,000 Islands and is the home of the Everglades Rod and Gun Club, visited by many celebrity types including Presidents and actors. It is truly a sportsman's paradise. There are many areas to fish here, far too many to cover in a weekend of fishing. This trip we chose the Barron River with miles of snaking backwater and open bays. The shoreline is mangroves and the tidal water moves fast in the river. There are oysters and sandbars and many small creeks making this river a fantastic habitat for snook, trout, redfish and tarpon.
My guide for this adventure was Mike Teixidor (miket1515) and his young son Brandon. Mike lives in Miami but frequently fishes the waters from Everglades City and Chokoloskee to Flamingo. In the past, Mike has guided me to some nice Peacock bass on the East coast as well. He loves fishing in kayak tournaments and last year placed top 10 in both the IFA Kayak Tour and the Kayak Fishing Classics series. Mike is also a member of the Blue Line Fishing Team.
We met at 6am at a small launch next to the bridge over the Barron River. The tide was on the last of its incoming run. Almost immediately after launching we saw large tarpon breaking the surface of the glassy water. We tossed several varieties of topwater baits to no avail. We tried soft plastics and even Gulp shrimp, but the tarpon were not interested. As we moved inland up the broad, mangrove lined river, the snook started to show some interest. They were small but feisty. I casted a DOA glowshrimp into a promising deep pocket only to have it crushed by a big snook that easily broke my 15lb leader.
When the tide changed the redfish bite changed along with it. We started landing reds along the edges of the many creeks along the river. They were middle to upper slot fish that fought with spirit. They seemed to really appreciate the Gulp shrimp in white or new penny, or a DOA glowshrimp. These fish were a mile or more up river.
During a short break in the action, I took notice of my surroundings. We had only travelled a couple of miles up river, but it appeared very remote. The only sounds were of Osprey calling as they passed overhead, or the grunts and growls of displeasure from the occasional egret as we passed. There were no boats and the river looked as natural as it appeared to the first settlers of this area.
On the way back in, we picked up a couple of small trout to complete our slam. The tarpon eluded us again as we approached the launch. I was advised later by a resident that the tarpon were only taking live bait at the moment, but usually respond to topwater baits. The honor of an Everglades grand slam was not meant to be on this trip, but it didn't dampen our spirits. It was a good day of fishing in a beautiful place.
If you want to try the area yourself, the launch to the Barron River is just as you enter Everglades City on the left before you go over the bridge. The launches there are steep and rocky, so take special care. Parking is free. If you want to stay the night, I recommend Capt Doug's Everglades City Motel. It looks like a 1950's roadside motel and all of the rooms have been recently updated. It's clean and cheap and right next door to one of the best diners in Everglades City, the Island House Café. Don't tell them Bob sent you, they will probably charge you double.