Fall Action in the Everglades
- Written by Captain Al Keller
Fall slamming is one way to describe the fishing here in the Ten Thousand Island and Everglades National Park. If you have ever wanted to tie into the elusive Backcountry Slam this is the time to put that notch in your cork grip.
These days the islands are quiet of wintertime boat traffic, but that is all that's quiet. Redfish will start schooling in the early fall working the flats around Estero Bay and tailing the incoming tide. Or one can find them milling around the island shorelines that are dotted with oyster bars. They will fall prey to shrimp and baitfish patterns and Kirk's spoon fly pulled through the grass. The backcountry snook will be crashing finger mullet and other small baitfish along oysterbars making them suckers for topwater flies. And for the Oceanside snook they will still be on the beaches and passes around Naples and Marco Island looking for the well-placed live baitfish for those that don't fly fish.
The fun tarpon (30lbs and under) are mixed between the back bays and creeks that feed these large bays to quiet outside coves. Being little doesn't mean they don't pack a punch. They still do backflips, jumps, burn drag and throw hooks just like their bigger cousin. These are great warm up fish for when the larger spring tarpon show up giving you the upper hand.
A Helios 9' 7 wt. matched to a Battenkill Large Arbor with a floating Wonderline will cover the water column and will be the right tackle to handle our Summer Slam action. This is a lightweight outfit that will not wear you out during the heat of the day. The fly rods this time of the year should match you quarry 6-7 wt for the streamer fishing and up to 8-9wt's for throwing larger poppers and streamers and the occasional large tarpon.