Endless Flamingo Variety

Tournament Tails // December 9, 2013

Flamingo, on the Southwestern corner of the Florida mainland in Everglades National Park, can lay claim to maybe the most density of fish per square mile found anywhere in the state. Maybe there’s just no maybe about it. Between the flats, channels, runnoffs, mullet muds, lakes and shorelines there are infinite situations to fish, with at least 20 or 30 different target species. Some days in the Park, it can literally be overwhelming to decide what to do next. Of course, tides, current weather conditions and especially wind direction and velocity are the most important factors when considering a plan of attack.

Blind jigging almost any channel can provide automatic action during mid to low falling water. Good current and visible mullet activity are great places to start. Find a sandy or gravel-bottomed trough and bounce a 1/4 or 3/8 ounce jig downstairs and it should stay grass free and connected to fish.

Using yellow bullet shaped jigs, Ed Wipfli from California, landed 108 fish, with 11 species including pompano, redfish, snook, trout and the omnipresent jacks and ladyfish. At the end of the day, Ed dropped fresh, large leaking wedges of ladyfish down to the bottom and whipped 6 spinner sharks up to 75 pounds and then took an 8 foot lemon shark that weighed over 200 pounds.

Garth Luke from Oregon tallied up over 300 fish in 3 days with 21 species. He jigged in all the usual suspects, and his dead bait fishing with 20 pound spin produced 18 spinner sharks to 80 pounds, 5 lemon sharks from 150-250 pounds, a 300 pound plus nurse, and then 4 tarpon out of 8 jumps weighing 110, 140, 150 and 170 pounds. He then finished off this truckload of large, predatory animals with a massive 17 foot 700 pound sawfish!

Dan Zicari of Vero Beach joined brothers Vic and Chad Unterbrink from Deerfield Beach, for one of the precious few slick calm days of the late fall and found excellent sightfishing in just several inches of water. Using live shrimp on 10 pound spin they landed 18 sheepshead up to 4 pounds, 12 snook up to 34 inches, 3 black drum up to 8 pounds and 22 redfish up to 7 pounds, with 10 of the reds on fly!

This diversity of catches was made on the new Maverick Mirage 18 HPX.

by Capt. Mark Krowka