Years ago I came to this very enjoyable Gem of a Freshwater Pond. I remember some short nose gar hitting my popper and almost staying on the hook. I caught an 18 inch largemouth and an 18 inch snook. One of them, first struck right below my rod tip at the fly line as it ripped the surface on each strip of my popper retrieve. A quick short cast back got him.
I remember a medium big gator just hanging out by the central island, just looking at me from 120 yards away with that evil side eye they always do. I turned the kayak and paddled hard, straight at him. He ducked down below the surface never to be seen again. I found it more disturbing not knowing where he was. You don't want to be reaching down trying to lip some thrashing bass with a nearby gator taking an interest in that.
Today, there's a biger gator in that picture above, right in front of that great looking cat tail shoreline cover. He could be that same gator just bigger now. Just to his right I had seen tarpon rolling as I launched. He is all puffed up with air, floating very high to absorb as much warmth from the sun or the warming air. Another story, but they also do that as a bluff posture or to show interest. Do gators remember? Does it matter? He could be that same gator thinking "looks like the same guy in the blue kayak, but he looks somehow smaller now."
I started with a 2/0 White Dive Banger and it would get hit near shore cover, particularly around nooks and edges to cat tail shoreline. It took 6 or more bass around 12 inches long. Casting to mangrove cover I hooked a strong fish that spun my kayak around and hauled me out to deeper water before I could turn him for a moment and got a glimpse of him. He didn't seem that big and I couldn't tell what he was and he got off.
There were some bigger fish that would spook when I cast the popper over shallow flats with scattered rooted weed patches. It looked like there might be bass beds there.
I switched to a 3/0 White Bullet Dog that does a great walk the dog darting action. I got a few bass hits before this big girl blasted it in shallow water in front of the cat tails. She turned and ran straight into them into very shallow water, I followed behind to untangle the fly line and leader from the cattails while she lay, not seeming to pull much against my tangled line. I untangled that stuff and back paddled her out to deeper water where I tired her out and netted her. This picture is awful, she is skinny and she does have a big head but the camera is too close to her head and to far away from her body and tail.
Biscayne Bound, North Canal, A Couple of Snook and a Heron attack my fly. I didn't know just how close to the salt water in Biscayne Bay this was. While casting from the bank trying to decide if I should launch here, people were stopping to ask me if I was getting snook. I launched and couldn't get any bites on a Dive Banger popper. Finally I broke down and put on a flashy bead head #2 Great Lakes Jiggy, the standard White, Pearl, Silver and Blue Flash. It took a snook on the first cast and a Mayan Cichlid soon after. As I drifted further down stream I got nothing. Returning upstream at dusk with the popper I got a hit and miss from a big fish. Then a Heron began attacking the popper in Osprey mode, flying in and plunging upon it, trying to snatch it with his beak. I could easily jerk it out of his reach, but he made about 10 stabs at it and probably scared off some fish.
I had covered a considerable length of canal. It started out narrower, shallower with submerged weed beds. The lower water was wider, deeper and I got nothing. All the good fish were in the middle stretch.