Post Hurricane Freshwater Fishing In South Florida
Hurricane Irma left a much bigger trail of destruction than the storm looked on paper. The Florida community as a whole is still cleaning up a lot of damage that was caused, but besides the obvious damage, the south fisherman are really feeling the effects of the storm.
The mullet run has been practically eliminated in the Miami area as a result of the storm and dumping of freshwater from Lake Okeechobee and the canals into the intracoastal and surrounding salt water basins.
In Miami, our freshwater fisheries have been equally effected, all in different ways. Out in the everglades, the bite is very difficult as the water level is still extremely high. This allows the largemouth bass to move into te marsh and out of range with our presentations when fishing these canals. I went into the glades yesterday and did manage about a dozen fish, with nothing over 2.5 pounds. All fish were taken on gambler swimbaits and on bullbuster 30 lb braid. The fish would not touch anything else we threw at them, and those numbers are well below my normal averages out there. I predict as the water levels drop, the bite will improve.
Over in the Miami canal systems, the peacocks are around but the biggest ones are MIA. I guided three days out of the last two weeks or so only, and on those three days we average about 20 fish each day. Those numbers are good, but on all three trips I only broke the 5 pound marker once, and the 4 pound marker twice total. These fish were all caught on Bullbuster 20lb braid in yellow. The water level in the canals are very low and the normal places you would find these fish are currently out of the water. The area is clearly all messed up as we are actually hooking a few small micro tarpon and spotting the occasional manatee right now, things that I have never seen in the past in the canals I fish.
Over time, as the water levels return to normal, we will begin to see these two fisheries go back to their previous glory. For now, they are still fishing well enough to spend a day, but the trips leave a little bit to be desired. The bite will only get better!
Capt. Scott Rose
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