*this is a long post*
Hey guys, just wrapped up my SoFlo trip. I have to say, you guys down here have such great fishing opportunities! In short, I had 5 days to fish and did: 1)Tamiami Trail West-to-East
2)Holiday Park jonboat rental
4)ocean charter out of Lantana 5)Peacock bass in local parks & canals.
-Tamiami Trail was a fun experience. I like to explore new places, and this was that. The fishing wasn’t as hot as I hoped, but I managed a tiny tarpon, a small snook, an oscar, a lgmouth bass and an unidentified cichlid-type fish. I spent a lot of time on the western brackish section and lost some opportunities to the east, but it was a good day.
-Holiday Park. They’ve got quite the operation set up there. I showed up early, hopped in a jonboat and took off. With all that “bassy” looking water it was pretty hard to know where to start as an outsider. I started north, got some cichlid & oscar action. Then headed south at the intersection and hit a decent bass, maybe 2 lbs? Fished the south canal for awhile with no action, fighting the wind. Then I came back up and headed due west on the S. New River Canal. I ran into a ton of eager oscars, and they were pretty fun on an ultra light spinning setup, so I did that for a bit - d**n they’re strong. After that, I headed in and got some food from the cafe. I was really wanting to find a peacock, so I drove into “town” and hit a park I’d scouted on google maps. Luck was with me and between 2 parks I caught 5 or 6 peacocks, which was very exciting for a guy from Washington State.
-Snakeheads. I hit a few spots I’d scouted online. I had read how easily these fish spook and how sneaky you should be - wow, how true. I saw & spooked several at my first stop, got one to take but missed the hook. Second stop, I found several fish and hooked up. Through the day I ended up with 4 total - they are very exciting fish with the topwater blowups and I was impressed with the amount of stealth required!
-ocean charter. I went with a reputable guide out of Lantana, really wanting to catch my first sailfish, and maybe other species. It was a tough day, with a high stakes tournament underway and a lot of boats on the water. But, the captain kept working hard, and eventually put me on a sailfish. Tailwalking, jumping, screaming drag - I got the whole show. It was cool.
-Lakes/parks/canals. This was my final day to fish, and I decided the peacocks were the most exciting fish for me to target. I hit a lake/park where I caught a dozen or so smaller ones. Then I moved to a few other places and hit some nicer ones. I can’t get over how pretty these fish are, in & out of the water. One observation was that all the peacocks I caught seemed to be on beds. I sight fished them all and most were “defensive” hits like smallmouths on beds. None were blind casting to ledges or deeper water. Is that something that is typical later in the year?
Overall, I had a great week. Florida really is a fisherman’s paradise. You could realistically fish for something, somewhere, every day of the year. As an obsessive fisherman it amazes me. I learned a lot from my week down here, and I already can’t wait to come back and do it again!