This Weeks Fishing Report from Capt. John Kumiski 6/13/08
Touring the state of Florida!
For Sale- 2008 Mitzi 17, slightly and gently used. Yamaha 60 four stroke, EZ Loader aluminum trailer, MinnKota trolling motor, $17,900. I love this boat for a variety of reasons but am upgrading to the new Mitzi 17 Guide model. Call me at 407.977.5207 for more information.
The report has been delayed since Iíve been out of town. I have been out on the water almost every day for the past two weeks, though.
Way back on Friday May 30 I fished fly fisher Jeff Plant in the Mosquito Lagoon. We saw lots of redfish- all fleeing from us. If Jeff, a good caster, could only have cast 300 feet or so he would have caught a ton of them! The fish were just ridiculously spooky. A mere mortal didnít stand a chance. We got skunked.
The next day Tim Hayes and Eric LaRue joined me, also on the Mosquito Lagoon. These Vermonters had a long day to search, since they wanted to watch the space shuttle launch. All morning long it was pretty slow, with Mr. LaRue getting one nice trout on a DOA CAL jig and a variety of piddly stuff on the same lure. Into the afternoon we found a school of redfish who actually hung around long enough for us to catch five of them. LaRue got three on a Riptide Weedless Jig. Tim got two on fly, his first reds on fly, a fine accomplishment. Just when the fish had enough of us it was time to go watch the launch- as always, spectacular and awe-inspiring.
Sunday found the same crew on the Indian River Lagoon. We wanted to find tarpon, and looked in all the right spots. The fish werenít in any of them. We did find a lot of snook and redfish, and Tim got another red on fly. The snook wanted no part of anything we threw at them. We found a small school of large black drum and tried a variety of proven flies, none of which interested the drum in the least. We ended up getting three fish on the day, including the rare yet undesirable hardhead catfish on fly.
Monday found me out on the IRL again, this time with Bill Schenderlein and his son John. Bill is a fly caster from Colorado, and is a principle in FlyWater. This company does stream restoration work, turning draining ditches into high quality, natural looking trout habitat. We fished several miles of IRL shoreline, and tossed flies at cruising, tailing, and laid up redfish and cruising and laid up snook. None of them wanted whatever we tried, and we were again skunked.
If the fish in the IRL system were frustrating, what about the Lee County tarpon? Tuesday at 10 AM (after a 4 AM wake-up and drive down to Fort Myers) Chris Myers met me at Pineland for the first of three days of tossing flies at tarpon. On none of the three days were the fish very plentiful, and on none of the three days were the fish we found very cooperative.
There were no fish at all in Pine Island Sound. All the shots we had, and we did have some really good shots, came along the beach. Tuesday we did not have a strike. Wednesday I had a strike on an Electric Sushi. I missed the strike. It proved to be the only strike we got in three long days. Even the crab tides failed to produce fish- not just for us, but for anyone.
Myers left Thursday afternoon. On Friday Dr. Peter Kazmier and his long-time friend Ed Muns joined me. We came through Captiva Pass about 6:45 AM and it was alive with breaking fish. Ed tossed a DOA CAL jig out and hooked up immediately. Peter took an extra moment getting a lure into the water but he like-wise got whacked immediately. For almost two hours they caught fish on almost every cast- ladyfish, bluefish, jack crevalle, and Spanish mackerel. They lost four fish to sharks, although Peter did get the head of one of those four.
After the blitz ended we went tarpon fishing. Like the previous three days there was lots of sitting and waiting, hoping some fish would come through. Occasionally some did. Peter had a fish just trash the Electric Sushi, its head coming clear out of the water as it tried desperately to eat the fly. Somehow it didnít get stuck though. It was the only tarpon strike we had.
The last hour we fished the fish came through in good numbers, strings of twenty and thirty fish. We stayed too late trying to get another bite and got caught in a couple thunderstorms, getting drenched and scared to death of being toasted by a giant spark. We made it back to the dock, neither melting from the rain nor frying from the lightning. Life is good!
Saturday I joined Capt. Rick DePaiva and David McCleaf for a dayís tarpon fishing. I was the designated angler, since they both wanted to take pictures. The shots were not strong, not lots of them coming. I did, however, have a fish take a black and red Toad. In a manner to which I seem to be comi9ng accustomed, I missed the strike, which turned out to be the only one I had.
Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday son Maxx and girlfriend Sydney came down for a few days of floating and boating. We were principally looking for tarpon, but in spite of getting some good shots did not get a bite from one. Sunday we saw birds diving outside of Boca Grande and went to investigate. Breaking fish were ravaging glass minnows. When we set up on a school the minnows immediately swam under the boat, which kept the predators right underneath us. They were Spanish mackerel, with a few sharks thrown in for good measure. We caught a stupid amount of fish, mostly on DOA CAL jigs, before going back to tarpon fishing. We had some shots while anchored and waiting, but none bit.
Monday I went cruising the beach looking for tarpon or other targets of opportunity. We went all the way the way to Gasparilla Shoal without seeing anything. On the way back we saw a couple tarpon schools, but they were already being fished.
While watching the mayhem that is Boca Grande tarpon fishing we saw birds diving around the old phosphate dock. We went to investigate and found a ton of breaking fish there- crevalle, blue runners, and Spanish mackerel. We fished under the birds for almost two hours and caught a stupid number of fish. Again, most whacked DOA CAL jigs, although the Haw River Tackle Sting Silver accounted for a few, too.
Afterwards we again looked along the beach for tarpon. We found a school of 20 fish or so and fished them unsuccessfully for about an hour before losing them. Clouds and a threatening storm made us decide to return to Tarpon Lodge.
Tuesday Maxx and I went out alone, tarpon fishing only, for about four hours. We anchored the boat and waited for fish to come through. We had a half dozen good shots in that time. The most exciting moment came when a tarpon tracked my fly almost to the boat. It never opened the bucket, though, and we didnít get a bite.
After returning to Tarpon Lodge we put the boat on the trailer. Maxx and Sydney drove back to Oviedo and I went to River Palms in Jensen Beach. DOA Lures was holding their annual Writers Festival and I had been invited.
This is one of the most fun events I ever attend. Mark Nichols assembles the most incredible array of talent there, guides, writers, and photographers. Add some food and drink and the south end of the Indian River Lagoon and you have the recipe for a very memorable few days.
Wednesday found Spencer Marchant and me out with Capt. Jim Harter. We fished the St. Lucie River. Spencer put a small tarpon into the air almost immediately. We proceeded to catch a smorgasbord of species including snook, snapper, ladyfish, moonfish, and even a hardhead catfish.
Thursday morning I drove home. After being gone for almost two weeks itís good to be here. I have quite a few errands to catch up with, and then itís back to the water.