Flamingo, Gateway to the Everglades National Park saltwater back country is where you go to load up a boat with as much fresh water and food to spend as long as you want and to go as far as you can and still make it back, or to the other side. You can find Giant Tarpon laid up or even feeding. The first leg of any such adventure is the three miles up the Buttonwood Canal, arguably the best fishing you're likely to find anywhere. Today, the Saturday after Christmas, before New Years there were so many Kayak tourist that the late out going motor boats had to slow down a lot more than they wanted to.
This American Salt Water crocodile is bigger than this phone shot appears. When it turned in our direction, I said "Oh No it's coming towards us" I thought it was funny, the people in the canoe didn't seem to think so.
Just out of the new (to me) Kayak Concession launch basin, after a retrieve, a tiny 9 inch baby baby tarpon took my 2/0 White Dive Banger as I let it rest while I organized my Kayak cockpit. When the fish tell you something you really should pay attention. Not that far down the channel a 2 pound or bigger fish blew up but missed my popper as I retrieved it out of an opening in the Mangrove cover. Fishing was slow except when I cast to where I could see some baby babies rolling. They would hit but mostly not get hooked or stay hooked on the 2/0 popper. I got to a serious concentration of them. When I happened to make a cast back into a nearby break in the mangroves, I got hit by and landed the first decent sized baby Tarpon.
I landed 3 more on the same pattern of casting into cover near where the little ones were playing in the main channel. Along the way I figured out that I was getting a lot of follows. When I did some end of retrieve pauses, maybe make the popper dive down I occasionally provoked a strike from an invisible follower.
The Tarpon were remarkably tolerant of all the boat traffic until a crush of motor boats coming through seemed to scatter them into hiding. I eventually hooked 2 more but they shook the hook. The next one hit back behind some serious log jam cover and I really earned that fish (luckily he mostly untangled himself).
I also caught a Mayan Cichlid on the 2/0 Dive Banger. He flipped of may kayak deck before I got the photo. This is one I got earlier in a canal near Biscayne Bay.