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South Florida Exploration Fishing Report

I visited the Keys and Everglades National Park this week. It’s a south Florida exploration fishing report.

-Mosquito Lagoon Show and Tell Seminar, March 23. An all-day fishing seminar that takes place in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, with the express goal of helping you catch more fish in the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoons. For more information,

-On-the-Water Show and Tell Seminar, March 24. Fun, educational four hour fishing seminar that takes place in my Mitzi on the waters of the Mosquito Lagoon, with the express goal of helping you catch more fish. For More information,

For Sale- Canoe Creek racks, fit any pickup truck (except Dodge RAM with toolbox).

First off, the traffic in south Florida is out of control. This reporter does not wish to inflict that on himself ever again. South Florida fishing has declined to the point where it’s certainly not worth that kind of aggravation.

Saturday I helped Allison Bowman, official girlfriend of Alex Kumiski, move to Rockland Key to be with Alex. Even making the drive as pleasant as possible with snacks, music, etc., it was awful. On Islamorada I watched an old man who was walking slowly pass me and disappear into the distance.

I learned (or re-learned) a couple of things during that drive:
-any time is a good time for oral hygiene. The GUM Proxabrush is a fine little tool; and
-a harmonica makes traffic jams more enjoyable. Mine is a Hohner Progressive Special 20 tuned to C. For $40 it’s a portable entertainment system. The world needs more harmonicas and fewer guns.

Sunday John Napolitano took Alex and I out into the Keys backcountry. He stopped the boat and started poling. Before I finished getting my fly line out he shouted, “Permit!” There were a half-dozen fish at one o’clock. I could have spit on them. Needless to say they evacuated the area in a hurry. Additionally we saw a tarpon roll, a single bonefish, and another pair of permit (I did not see these fish, nor the bone). We wrapped it up early since Alex had to go to work.

In the afternoon I paddled out into the Saddlebunch Keys to do some exploring. I found lots of Cassiopeia jellyfish (they seem to be doing fine everywhere down there). I also saw one small permit (no shot), four or five barracudas (no shots), and a single blacktip shark.

Monday Alex took Allison and I out into the same area as the previous day. We looked and looked. We did not find much. I cast a plastic shad about 1000 times, got one small snapper and one small grunt. We did not see any crabs, did not see much bait.

The Keys are the most over-rated inshore fishing spot on the planet. Not only have I never done particularly well by myself there, I have fished with the following guides with the following results:
-Tommy Busciglio, we jumped two big tarpon (no complaints there!)
-Ben Taylor- skunked
-horrible guide (Ah-chee-wa-wa) at Hawk’s Cay- skunked
-Dexter Simmons- skunked
-a week in the Marquesas with Rick DePaiva, Blake Matherly, and Paul Hobby- one bonefish, one permit, and one tarpon between the four of us
-wade fishing Long Key with Bruce Chard- one bonefish between three of us
-Mike Gorton, twice- one large barracuda

Maybe I suck, but I seem to catch fish most other places.

Excuse my rant.

Four AM on Tuesday I got up and drove to Flamingo, hoping to get the boat wet by 8. I was out at nine, not too bad. It was windy. Concerned about crossing Coot Bay on the rebound, I stayed and fished it’s lee, catching a lot of snook on fly rod poppers. I was glad I brought a four weight- it was probably too heavy for the fish I got. The largest was 18 inches or so. Two 12-inch tarpon succumbed to my wiles, too.

Spent some quality time on my back on a picnic table watching clouds dance. They are so graceful for being so large! They boogie to the music of the planet. Truly a wonderful hour spent there.

Wednesday saw perfect weather so I put on my paddling shoes and hit it. My spot, a long-time favorite, was pretty barren, by its own lofty standards, anyway. Five snook were fooled by my popper with the largest weighing about four pounds. That fish was worth the price of admission- stunning strike, ridiculous acrobatics, the whole schlemeile. Awesome! Saw a few crocodiles, paddled through some mangrove tunnels, had a great time, and was glad I went.

Thursday at 0530 I got out of the tent so as to hit the road early- going home! The stars demanded I spend some time watching. Scorpius and Sagittarius were in the southern sky. The crescent moon was in Sagittarius, flanked by Jupiter and Venus. The Big Dipper pointed at Leo (whose nose was almost touching the western horizon), Polaris, and Arcturus. It was SO freaking spectacular I didn’t want to stop watching. But mosquitos reminded me I had places to go.

That’s this week’s South Florida Exploration 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 2019. All rights are reserved.
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