The Fish of the Everglades

Everglades National Park offers a wide variety of fishing opportunities to both the expert and novice angler. Some of the waters you will encounter are the “flats” of Florida Bay, the beaches of Cape Sable and the wild scenic rivers, creeks and bays of the backcountry areas. All areas offer a unique ecosystem from the emerald green waters of Florida Bay to the tannic stained (tea color) waters of the backcountry. Some of the game fish species that are available to our anglers are:

Tarpon

Strength, stamina, and fighting ability, make the tarpon one of Florida's premier game fish. Tarpons are considered one of the great saltwater game fishes, not only because of the size they can reach, but because of their fighting spirit when hooked. Tarpon are very strong and can make spectacular leaps into the air. The hook set is difficult due to the hard mouth of the fish and for that reason many tarpons throw the hook on the first few jumps. If the hook stays secure, then the fight is on. Tarpons have tremendous endurance and are one of the most exciting game fish to fight - frequent spectacular jumps, long runs, and stubborn bulldogging are all part of the game.

It is illegal to posses a Tarpon without a $50.00 Tarpon tag. However, we practice “Catch and Release” which allows us to measure the fish and determine an approximate weight. In addition, we participate in Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Tarpon Genetic Recapture program. Once a tarpon has been landed we obtain a DNA sample via a harmless “small scrub” technique and forward to the laboratory for DNA analysis and tracking information purposes.

Snook

In the past Snook were known as "soapfish" when some sections of the "soapy" tasting skin were left on the fillets due to poor cleaning practices. Snook are known as "ambush feeders" meaning that they'll surprise attack their prey as it swims or moves into range. This occurs where currents are prominent and Snook awaits in hiding behind bridge pilings, rocks, or other submerged structures.

The common Snook is one of Florida's most popular inshore game fish because of its spectacular fighting ability. This species is native to the coastal waters of the western Atlantic Ocean and southern Florida. Occurring in shallow coastal waters, estuaries, and lagoons, the fish often enters fresh water. It is carnivorous, with a diet dominated by smaller fishes, crustaceans such as shrimps, and occasionally crabs. Depending on the time of year we search for snook on the flats, beaches, river mouths and / or backcountry creeks. Snook are very popular with recreational anglers due to their strong fighting spirit and mild, delicate flavor.

Redfish / Red Drum

The most distinguishing mark on the red drum is one large black spot on the upper part of the tail base. Having multiple spots is not uncommon for this fish but having no spots is extremely rare. As the fish with multiple spots grow older they seem to lose their excess spots. Scientists believe that the black spot near their tail helps fool predators into attacking the red drum's tail instead of their head, allowing the red drum to escape.

Mature Red Drum spawns in near shorelines. Juvenile red drum typically inhabits bays and coastal marshes until they reach maturity between 3 and 6 years of age. They will readily accept any bait but prefer Shrimp and crabs. Red drums are often found over sand and sandy mud bottoms in coastal waters and estuaries. Since they are bottom feeders, they are commonly caught with bait either on the bottom or suspended within a couple feet of the bottom. Shrimp is typical bait that works well. The backcountry area of Everglades National is thought to be one of the best fisheries for juvenile Redfish. If you want your Redfish mounted we offer replica mounts based on photos, length and weight. Pricing is available upon request.

Spotted Sea Trout

The spotted sea trout also known as speckled trout and is a common estuary fish found in the southern United States. These fish have large, prominent canine teeth; dark back with grey or silvery sides marked with scattered black spots of varying size. Plain black spots are also present on the dorsal and tail fins. While most of these fish are caught on shallow, grassy flats, spotted sea trout reside in virtually any inshore waters, from the surf of outside islands to far up coastal rivers, where they often come for shelter during cold weather. If you want your Spotted Sea Trout mounted we offer replica mounts based on photos, length and weight. Pricing is available upon request.

Blacktip Shark

It is common to coastal tropical and subtropical waters around the world, including brackish habitats. Black tip sharks are known to make spinning leaps out of the water while attacking schools of small fish. Once hooked it is not uncommon to hear and feel a steady drag of line coming off your reel. Florida Bay offers sight fishing for Black Tip Sharks around select mangrove islands as well as on open flats.

NOTE: Some of the previous information was provided by FWC.

 

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