11 Dec Winter time fishing in flamingo
Everglades winter time fishing
As the end of the year approaches, the arrival of cold weather brings along several fishing opportunities for a wide array of species that are readily available during cold weather.
Most of my time on the water is spent sightfishing with clients after glamour flats species such as tarpon, bonefish, permit, redfish and snook. However, as much as I love guiding and fishing for all these great fish, It is always good to change things up a bit and target more accessible, and less technical fish species, whenever possible. Winter is the perfect time for that.
I often face different scenarios when getting charter requests from clients. Every client has different expectations, goals and preferences. I get the usual client that has zero to very little experience in saltwater fishing but he or she is already thinking about catching a 10lb bonefish, a 20lb snook, a grand slam, a permit on fly or a 100lb tarpon.
Then there is the typical die hard client, asking me to go after a particular target, with a particular tackle or technique, even when the weather, time of the year and/or fishing conditions will greatly limit our opportunities.
I get the seasoned flyfishing or light tackle expert that only focuses on one style of fishing or species in particular, yet understands the challenges and different variables associated with their quest.
Also, the typical family charter always shows up…father and son, couple, tourist with zero fishing experience , grandson and grandfather, beginner light tackle or fly fisherman etc.. they usually ask me to take them fishing for whatever is bitting best according to the conditions.
This is one type of charter I really enjoy as it usually gives me the flexibility to fish for different species (both glamour and fun species according to the available conditions) educating people on the basics of fishing, while having fun in the process.
The key to success is being flexible and willing to adjust to the different conditions that we might face during any season, week or day. that being said, winter time provides that assortment of opportunities to fish for a mix bag of species.
The flamingo area provides a wide array of fishing opportunities during cold weather. The Spanish mackerel migrate down south and concentrate in Florida bay. They provide hot non-stop action and are capable to satisfy any angler regardless of their experience or angling level. they are also very good to eat.
The jacks, mangrove snapper, ladyfish and bluefish will be on the mix with the mackerel as well. Do not be surprised if a fat cobia shows up to your chum slick to add some extra excitement. Sea trout fishing starts to get very good throughout winter and into the spring.
Snook, sea trout, redfish and black drum will seek the deeper moats and channels to warm themselves up during those very cold days. When you find one you usually find a bunch of fish concentrated in the same area. Nothing beats a buck tail jig or a jig and live shrimp combination when doing that.
Hot weather windows in winter time
Although the cold fronts in winter time will limit our opportunities for the glamour species, please do not completely count them off. When the weather gets hot in between cold fronts, we can have access to the most spectacular sightfishing for tarpon of the year, for rolling and laid up fish in the backcountry.
These fish bite flies and plugs with abandon. During these hot weather spells in winter time, just about any other glamour species such as bones, permit, snook and redfish will get active and will come back to the shallow flats to feed, opening the sightfishing window for them again.
That’s all for now, tight lines and let’s go fishing!
Capt Alex Zapata
Flats fishing guide
IFFF certified fly casting instructor
Miami, Everglades and the keys
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