The Florida Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands make up one of the most unique environments for gamefish in the world.
The shallow bays, mangrove islands, and Gulf flats create a perfect habitat for snook, redfish, tarpon and many other species anxious to take a fly or lure.
To the uninitiated, the Glades look like an undifferentiated maze of mangrove islands, but, up close, you can see they contain an incredible variety of angling opportunities.
One minute, you might be blind casting into mangrove pockets, hoping to entice a lurking snook or pick off a cruising redfish. The next minute, you could be sight-fishing to the same species on a skinny-water flat.
In summer, you look for fish congregating on the Gulf flats and in the passes between islands. In the colder months, you follow their migration to the Everglades backcountry, where snook, especially, like to winter in dark-bottomed bays that retain the sun’s heat. In the spring and fall, you can find them anywhere, from the Gulf to the deepest recesses of the Glades.
Also in the spring, giant tarpon migrate northward along the Gulf shore, stopping to rest — lay up — in bays off the main passes, presenting a tempting target to anglers who want to tangle with the king.
Everglades National Park
Roseate spoonbills, ibis and heron feed on the edge of a redfish flat.
Photograph by Sue Panther
Everglades wildlife is … well … wild. Gator sightings are frequent, especially in winter.
Photograph by Ned Small
Above, Garrison Asper shows off his first-ever redfish, caught on a Gulf flat.
At right, Callifornia angler Dan Blanton throws long, hoping to entice a snook out of a mangrove pocket.
An Everglades tarpon takes to the air.