Florida Kayak Vacation Summary

I'm back in the shop now, tying flies, getting ready for winter fly shows, and filling orders.  These reports will be a work in progress for a few days.  More photos and information will get posted as I can get to it. 

On Maps.Google, I scouted out places with kayak access to likely prime fly fishing waters that had difficult or no access for motorboats.

Sanibel Island Back Water Bays and Channels.  It wasn't hard to find lots hungry but not so big Sea Trout and Lady Fish in the back bays and connecting channels.

A pleasant small freshwater pond in the everglades yielded some topwater Snook along with small bass and a chance at Tarpon to keep it interesting.

Freshwater pond Snook on Topwater 3/0 White Bullet Dog


Flamingo's Buttonwood Canal didn't disappoint, nice Baby Tarpon took a Topwater Dive Banger Popper.

Tarpon taking 2/0 White Dive Banger Top Water Fly Pattern

Searching for the "Snake Canal" A cryptic code name for what may have been the Loxahatchee boat ramp canal.  I found miles of a fertile rural canal, kayak & foot access only.  Seeking no motorboat spots panned out big time.  A smaller #2 Bead Head Opal Minnow took lots of Peacocks, a big Snake Head and a big Clown Knife Fish + 3 more species I wasn't really targeting.  I saw Baby Tarpon rolling in a side channel.

Kayaking for Peacock Bass, #2 White Opal Minnow Bead Head

Snake Head on #2 Opal Minnow Bead Head Fly

My favorite Top Water fly patterns worked well in extreme South Florida.  Bead Head Great Lakes Jiggys got a few bass in Central Florida when colder water shut down a Top Water Bite.

Finding a Good Canal.  This canal spot has it all.  Only missing that "Do Not Block Gate" sign.

Ideal Easy Kayak Canal Spot, Rural, No Motor Boat Access, Lots of Fish

Canal Boom Barrier & Weed Jam Cover Peacock Bass Hot Spot

  • What Canals have the Best Kayak Fly Fishing.
  • Less clear, weedy water can a signal fertile base for the food chain meaning more and larger fish.  Fish hold shallower and bite more freely in darker water.
  • Older more fertile canals, shallower with eroded banks mean easier fly presentations to fish in shallower water
  • Lower side walls and mowed rims make back casts easier.
  • Wind or Current pile up free loating weeds against the boom barriers meant to contain it.  This draws Bait Fish and predators.
  • Canal Dead Ends collect floating weeds so predators may habitually hang out there even when the weeds have temporarily blown elsewhere.
  • Bridges make good ambush spots for predator fish, the change from bright sun to shadow, faster or more turbulent current, or smooth vertical underwater walls make for good ambush points.
  • The Snake Head and Clown Knife fish I found were not in with the voracious PeaCock Bass hoards but were near by.
  • At a Canal intersection I found some good Peacock bass and rolling baby tarpon were near by. 

Big Gators in a small dead end canal.  Launching at the Loxahatchee Boat Ramp carried a hefty entrance fee.  It had nice weeded edges but was big and wide with lots of motor boats blasting up and down it. 

Nearby was a land locked dead ended canal free to launch in.  The near end had great floating beds of water hyacinth but nothing would take.  Nothing would take topwater or subsurface the whole length of the canal-pond.  I was almost at the far end, some locals pulled up, lofted a shiner on a bare hook out to the middle and quickly caught a 15 inch Largmouth.   Heading back, now there were big gators hanging out near the first big weed bed I would come to.  The biggest one leapt off the bank, hit the water hard, swimming fast, hydroplaning across the surface towards another gator near the opposite bank.  I held back a 120 yards, once that conflict was over I resumed slowly fishing towards them.  100 yard away I looked up an they were gone.  This is typical.  They prefer to disappear when you are not looking so you never have any clue to where they have gone.

I paddled through that water without stopping to fish.  Some times gator learn to take an interest in what fishermen catch, that's not good for kayak fishermen.

Back at the weedy end where i started a long cast to the center of the canal brought a huge fish blasting out from under the weed mat.  She T Boned the fly with half is body out of the water.  I stripped line hard, pulling the kayak up even with her then back paddled while towing her out from under the floating water hyacinth mat.  She had taken the 2/0 White Dive Banger deep.

Winger Florida Bass on Top Water 2/0 Dive Banger from a Kayak

Central Florida Bass, not much winter top water action.  Lots of great catch and release bass lakes but difficult to kayak fish in windy weather pattern and not much biting.  This was the best I got in the short late evening window when the water had warmed and the wind died.

Lake Jackson Catch & Release Bass Fishing from a Kayal

 Lake Jackson floating grass mat "shoreline" cover.

Kayak Bass Fishing on C &R Lake Jackson Grass Matt Cover

Channelized Lake Jackson inlet above the lock.  I saw a very large Bowfin hooked below the lock on a minnow below a bobber.

Canal Behind Lock Above Lake Jackson


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