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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Only fished one day this past week and I was lucky enough to have Captain Jan Lemieux and his son Declan aboard... I'll let the photos show the tale (with an assist from Jan since some of these are his photos..).


Nearing Coot Bay at first light (in summer the earlier the better...)

That day my trailer - was the only one at the inside ramp parking lot so we had the backcountry to ourselves all day long.... We hit a couple of tarpon spots a long run from the boat ramp before we scored. Jan drew first bite on a topwater and slightly sub-surface plugs that he and Declan were tossing at feeding tarpon. The fish ranged from 20 to about 60lbs (and those were just the ones we could see -lord only knows what else was hidden in those dark waters...). Jan's fish was nearly 60lbs on a medium light rod and it quickly exploded into the air and tossed his plug back at us. Jan had a few more bites and momentary contacts but the fish were tough on plugs. Declan was right in there as well getting a lot of bites - but no hook-ups... all at very close quarters with fish everywhere we looked... After an hour's worth of shots and bites the tide quit moving and all the tarpon action ended. A run to the north and we found them again - this time along a shallow snag filled shoreline mixed in with ladyfish, small redfish, feisty snook - and all of them working small glass minnows... This time it was Jan again that drew first action - landing and releasing a small redfish that attacked a topwater plug, then hooking up with a nice snook that knew exactly where all the snags were - promptly tangling up in one of them. Jan worked the fish free only to see it slip the plug just as it got untangled... Our next hook up was Declan - who had a nice small tarpon eat a smaller Zara plug - and we were off to the races. Here's a few pics...

hooked up and working rod down - the only way to be successful with any tarpon on a plug..


airborne! at one point the fish tried to jump into the boat...


Success and you can see that lure still locked in place


You have to be very careful un-hooking a plug from any tarpon --- or you'll end up hooked as well...

We carefully revived and released this 20lb fish - a great catch on a small lure - nothing like tarpon striking surface lures to get your attention....

Later that day we hit a couple of tripletail spots - but no joy...then moved to a small creek in hopes of getting into a big snook on live bait... No snook - but we did get a surprise... Jan hooked up a seven foot long sawfish, all while Declan was hooked up on a medium sized shark, so I was kept busy for a few minutes... - here's the pics...


You only get a look at a sawfish when they're close to your skiff - they do get your attention..


and you have to be very careful handling them...

By the way - we didn't target that sawfish, and very carefully released it un-harmed since they're on the Endangered Species list... The Everglades may be the only place left that still has a large population of them - and some are as big as twenty feet long...

That day we caught and released speckled trout, a small goliath grouper, spanish mackeral, mangrove snappers, and quite a few other species. You just never know what you'll run into in the 'glades... My favorite place in this world... and we hardly saw another boat all day long...

Be a hero... take a kid fishing!
 

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Capt it's always a pleasure to fish with you. Declan had a great time. Thank you again for a great day on the water. It was fun to have more time with the camera. Declan is still laughing about the tarpon that tried to eat his topwater hooked to a ladyfish just feet from the boat!

I highly recommend Capt. Lemay, he's a wealth of information and knowledge. I've been fishing the backcountry for years. Even so there is so much to learn from a single trip with professional like Capt. Lemay. We fished areas that I've run past time and time again. Fished lures in a different pattern or with a different presentation. Learning visual queues provided by nature to help you pick places to fish from the miles and miles of mangroves and shorelines.

Here are some pictures from Friday.

Cheers!
 

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20-foot long sawfish. Damn, I'd like to see that... Sounds like something out of a horror flick. I didn't realize how big they got.
 

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Love that blurry shot of the tarpon- really cool. Nice report Bob, thanks as always for sharing
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Saws actually get bigger than 20 feet... and they used to be found worldwide but inshore nets simply wiped them out. Any sawfish that swims into a net is a dead critter - but they'll destroy the net in the process... The reason that there's still a good population of them around the Everglades is that netting has been banned here - since the Park was established 70 years ago...

Since Florida banned nets inshore almost 25 years ago sawfish are making a comeback up and down the state. They'd gradually come back everywhere along the Atlantic and Gulf coastline if other states would also ban inshore netting....
 
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