The freshwater fishing in Everglades canals is red-hot, with anglers catching so many largemouth bass, peacock bass, Mayan cichlids and oscars, it’s difficult to keep count of them all.
“Right now’s just a good time to go fishing, and it will be through May,” said Capt. Alan Zaremba, explaining that low water levels in Everglades marshes have forced a variety of fish species to move into the canals that criss-cross the Everglades in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
“The Everglades has been really phenomenal for me. You can’t go wrong going out there fishing right now. What’s nice about there is when one species turns off, another species takes over it seems like. One day oscars are going crazy and you can’t keep them off the hook, another day it’s Mayan cichlids, another day it’s peacocks hitting topwater plugs.
Zaremba, who does the freshwater fishing report on the Nautical Ventures Weekly Fisherman radio show that airs from 6-8 a.m. Saturday on Fox Sports 940 Miami and live-streams on the Nautical Ventures Facebook page, added that “It’s a great time to take kids out and show them how to catch fish on artificial lures. You want to keep them busy and having tugs. That’s what hooks fishermen for life.”
Zaremba, of Hollywood, said that one of the best places to launch a boat is at Broward County’s recently upgraded Everglades Holiday Park at the end of Griffin Road and U.S. Highway 27. He said the L-67A Canal, which runs south from the park all the way to Tamiami Trail, is full of fish, as is the Tamiami canal.
The canal along the west side of U.S. Highway 27 north of Interstate 75, which has several boat ramps, has provided Zaremba’s customers with 100-fish days. The canals along Alligator Alley also have been productive. Access is available at boat ramps at the Miami Canal rest area, plus two ramps east of there and two ramps west of the area.
Although many anglers and fishing guides believe live bait such as shiners or nightcrawlers is the best way to catch fish, Zaremba (www.worldwidesportsfishing.com) said his customers catch everything in the canals using lures.
“Jerkbaits will always do very well,” said Zaremba. “Sometimes they love topwater plugs like Torpedoes and Pop-Rs. Largemouths will eat more plastic worms and stick worms. If you want to catch a lot of panfish like bluegills, warmouths and Mayans, Beetle-Spins will tear them up.
“It’s also a good time to catch fish on a fly rod. I’ve been throwing poppers, but you can throw (weighted flies such as) Deceivers and Clouser minnows. All of that works right now, it depends on what you want to catch. Woolly buggers will catch a variety of fish: warmouth, crappie, peacocks, jaguar guapotes.”
When fishing a jerkbait such as a Bagley Minnow B or floating Rapala, Zaremba said to initially twitch the lure on the surface two or three times so it acts as a topwater bait. If you don’t get a bite, retrieve the lure under the surface with a series of rapid jerks, which triggers peacock bass as well as largemouths. A stop-and-go series of jerks will get more bites from oscars and Mayans.
He also said to adjust your retrieve based on what the fish prefer. Sometimes they like it twitched and sometimes they like it moving below the surface.
For the latest information on where freshwater and saltwater fish are and how to catch them, listen to The Nautical Ventures Weekly Fisherman radio show every Saturday morning from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. live on Fox Sports 940 Miami, an iHeart station. If you can’t tune in live, the Weekly Fisherman radio podcasts are available through:
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