11 Apr The Park
Everglades National Park or “The Park”, as it is known by South Florida locals, is a place like no other. It’s an angler’s paradise and draws adventurers from all over the planet. It seems no matter what your age or background, once you fish The Park, your life changes.
It’s hard to name the exact ingredient that draws you into the park, but odds are it isn’t any one thing. Whether you are launching the boat at dawn and getting that first breathe of park air, watching tarpon roll, spotting tailing reds, or a seeing a snook blow up at the mangroves – anglers get sucked in almost immediately. Add to this bald eagles, pelicans, pink spoonbills, ospreys, manatees, alligators and even crocodiles – the park has a way of hitting you in the raw parts of your soul.
For the adventurous or eco-adventurer, the park is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the plant -along with being the only one of its kind. Photographers, scientists, and even resident artists all get inspired during every trip through those gates. Anglers specifically know once you get through the gates that an epic day awaits (whether it be your 3rd trip this week or an arrival after months of planning), and no matter the actual fish count. If there is one thing the park never runs out of is opportunity and new places to discover.
Icons of The Park
Florida anglers of various generations have all had a pioneer they have followed at some point in their lives. This ranges from Herman Lucerne, Dr. Lloyd Wruble, and Flip Pallot to Denny Noble, Snapper Butler, and Glenn Smallwood to younger more recent guests of fishing notoriety. But no matter which generation may have brought you here, the real icon is the park itself. You each will define your own passion for this place, and in that, you will never truly be able to get it all into words of that same depth.
Everglades National Park (ENP) Fishing
The fishing, this is why we are here after all. As you can imagine Glades Fly Fishing was born out of the passion for this place that was captured by Captain Paul Nocifora. Though Captain Nocifora is a fly fisherman at heart, Glades Fly Fishing has dedicated a life to bringing guests of all skill levels and on various types of light tackle to this place. It is in the hopes to not only help nurture the next gernations of anglers, but also bring to light the absolute importance of this place as a fishery as well as an ecosystem.
Redfish are probably the most common target of sight fisherman in the park. Red’s can range in size from little “rats” to over-slot ENP bull’s. But no matter the size, these guys are feisty shallow water fighters that will readily take an artificial lure or a fly on almost any day.
The snook are another popular ENP species that will generally be found ambushing prey in the mangrove roots systems, but a huge slob or two has been spotted belly rolling in mere inches of water. During certain times of the year it is not uncommon to find Snook, Red’s and Seatrout all together attacking a bait ball in the shallows.
Though the park is not quite known for “gator” trout, the trout fishing here is exceptional. These guys can keep you busy on both fly and light tackle and can be fun to target while waiting on tides to turn or hunting other game. Cast for the grass, and a trout is sure to show up.
The Silver King, Tarpon – and the park has some monsters. These guys can be seen rolling just outside of the ramp and all along your adventures on the ocean or backcountry side of the Flamingo launch. Some days the real big ones just won’t bite, while on a random Wednesday, out of the blue, the Megalops will all of the sudden burn a memory in your head (as well as your drag) that you will never forget. These can be targeted year round in ENP which is highly significant as this is not true in nearly all the rest of the state where anglers must wait for the yearly tarpon migration.
Well, the park wouldn’t be a magical place (yeah it would) if you didn’t have the opportunity at some rare shots and a multitude of species. This can include Tripletail, blackdrum, snapper, grouper, sharks, permit, barracuda, and a whole lot more depending on which side you launch from.
Make no mistake, ENP hasn’t gotten all of its history, mystique, and cult following by not truly being an amazing place. Don’t take my word for it, schedule your first (and last) fishing charter with Glades Fly Fishing. Why last you say? Because after one trip, you will go out and buy a boat and be moving nearby to start your new life as the latest addition to the ‘Glades family.
This is a post written by guest writer Eric Bonneman