Burmese Pythons in the Everglades Backcountry

This is a new thing to have to be aware of when camping the Everglades Backcountry. I usually go twice a year camping starting around January and up through February and even into March if the weather remains cool. I need about three good cold fronts to knock down the mosquito population so October is too buggy and December just hasn’t had enough fronts to do the trick. 

It used to be we had to worry about raccoons coming into camp and stealing our food. Bungee cords were a necessity to secure coolers and food boxes from the prying hands of raccoons that would show up at night or when we were away from camp. Today, raccoons are no longer a problem - Why? Because the pythons that now infest the Everglades have eaten them all. 

The python shown above is the same size (17-feet) of one I saw 3-years ago swimming between two mangrove islands deep in a backcountry bay not too far from this camping chickee. In all likelihood it might be the same one. 

I can tell you today before we actually step off our boats and on to a campsite we spend several minutes surveying the camp site to make sure there aren’t any eyes staring back at us. So, far I haven’t encountered a python


Drout - Redfish

Once in a while someone catches redfish that is covered up in spots. As is common on most redfish there is a spot just at the base of the tail like the one pictured on the bottom left of this photo set though occasionally I’ve landed a few redfish without any spots on its tail or anywhere else on its body. A multi-spotted red like the one pictured at the top is called a Drout - Drum and Trout combined. (Redfish are part of the drum family and are known is some areas a red drum. Spotted Seatrout, pictured at bottom right, are also in the drum family and are full of spots hence the name Drout) The record for the most spots on a redfish was set 1996 in the Everglades National Park where I do most of my redfishing with a redfish that displayed more than 500 spots. This 26-inch, seven-pound fish had spots on each of its scales and spots on its dorsal fin, something which is unheard of in this species. Marine Biologists believe reds develop black spots, usually one on each side near the tail, as camouflage appearing to be the eye of the redfish. The evolutionary development is thought to fool a predator into believing the redfish tail is really its head. In this way if the predator attacks the tail of a redfish the redfish is more likely to get away. The most spots I’ve counted on redfish that I once caught was 14.

Tailing redfish photo by Jody Moore  - All rights reserved

Take a kid Camping and Fishing

Camping season in the Everglades is sadly quickly coming to a close for this winter as temperatures warm and the days lengthen both of which contribute to the resurgence of the mosquito, no-see-um and deer fly populations that nearly disappear during cold snaps but once summer temperatures arrive the bug numbers quickly spike along with their pestilence factor reaching levels of biblical proportions. Whereas camping is as I know and understand a summer time recreation in other parts of the country here in South Florida it is a winter activity starting from about the end of November up through the end of March.Camping and fishing with my youngest son on the right is one of my favorite things to do and for him as well. We started camping when he was 5-years old and have not missed a season in 10-years.

Photo by Jody Moore - all rights reserved 

Cuber Snapper and Flesh Eating Beatles

A friend of mine recently had this mount made for him. It was healthy sized cubera snapper had caught. His taxidermist talked him into have the fish defleshed by flesh eating beatles. This is one of the coolest fish mounts I’ve ever seen. It would be cool to see a really bony fish like a tarpon or bonefish mounted this way.

Camping in the Everglades

Can you see him? The morning visitor - the nights sentinel? Lurking just at the waters surface - with only eyes and nose exposed? Many people would be freaked out about the fact they had spent the night sleeping just a few yards from an alligator separated from a relic of the dinosaur age only by the thin near shear walls of a nylon tent. This gator chose to stay in the water during the night when I camped in the Everglades several weekends ago or at least I didn’t hear or sense his presence in our camp. But once in while a gator makes the effort to come on land while we sleep and patrol the campground as we slumber - Why not?  It’s his territory in his world. Snoring campers sound not too dissimilar from a gator growl and the noise quite possibly calls a resident gator into a camp to challenge and protect their territory from a supposed intruding gator -  or so we have surmised when sitting around the campfire at night musing about such things. I love camping in the Everglades.

Photo by Jody Moore - all rights reserved

Snook on the Move

Here’s the latest snook activity report as of right now. While snook were being caught 6-and 8-weeks ago deep in the  Everglades in the nearly fresh waters of the backcountry as is traditional for the winter months of December, January and February, the fish are on the move towards their spring and summer pattern. Now that the weather is warming up a bit and the days are beginning to lengthen, the fish have now moved down to the the lower bays of the backcountry that are fed by the great tidal rivers like Lostmans, Chathamm, Houston and Broad Rivers as well as the mouths of these river. Snook have also taken up ambush positions during the falling tide at a number of small creeks found along the banks of any of these rivers. We recently boated 4-bruisers in the 15-to 20-pound range the old fashioned way using both live bait and shrimp tipped bucktail jigs. There were three fish that we couldn’t turn as they freight trained their way back in the safety of the mangrove roots we hooked them under and broke us off.

Photo by Jody Moore - all rights reserved

Watch on

How to tie the RBH Minky. A killer Striped Bass fly.

How to Tie a RBH Minky. A fly adapted from David (roly poly) Barkers Minky, first made out his wife’s old mink coat and fished at Grafham Water Cambridgeshire. Try this fly in pink, greens, black etc. Tight Lines