survival of the fittest………….a hell’s bay glade skiff adventure

While I am not typically a fan of poky clichés, sometimes mother nature wipes the salt spray from your shades long enough to realize that this big blue marble is nothing but a circle of life…….and naturally where there is life, there is most certainly death. While not always accepted, it is a function of reality.

To say we have witnessed a mild winter in South Florida is quite misleading, we have only had 19 days with temperatures less than 60 degrees, by comparison to this time last year we had approximately 48 days. Old man winter has generally passed us by. Yet on a few occasions the weather has cooled enough that I had the urge to check out of my own reality for a bit…………nothing like a few days in the glades this time of year, not seeing another soul to cleanse the mind.

It has been a busy few months for me and escaping the more common morning commute was a welcomed relief…………..

The cooler weather brings about many changes in the glades, many welcomed, others not, but regardless it is a nice change of pace for many of us Floridians that spend the other 9 months of the year sweating.

An early morning purple sky deep in the everglades will make you forget about any trouble you had……………………….

As we pushed deeper into the mangrove labyrinth that is the Everglades, the sun began to break the horizon and gently warm the cool breeze on our faces. The monotonous right and left turns through narrowing creeks finally slowed and it was becoming more obvious that it finally was wintertime in the glades.

Pretty hard mistaking the curvy pink silhouettes in the backdrop of a Everglades sunrise.

It is sights like this that really remind me of how lucky we truly are. I hope to God that the habitat doesn’t go through more drastic changes, and that my kids get to see, touch, and experience some of the things I have. It had been some time since I had seen a natural Flamingo in the glades. Perhaps they just arrived from the Yucatan, Bahamas or were just stopping by for a bit. Unlike my previous encounters I have experienced, this one was different, there seemed to be 4 mature birds with 14 fledglings accompanying and they were spectacular………..and at 6:45AM my day could have ended right there and I would have been perfectly content.

By that afternoon, many fish had come to hand before we set up camp and watched the sun melt into the mangroves. Trips to the glades seem to have the ability to unwind the most complicated of lifestyles.

Catching a few fish on these is always good damn fun…………

As we pushed deeper some changes in the lineup were required………..

The soggy coastal prairie might seem desolate, but rest assured you are never alone as the Everglades is synonymous with insects, and where there are insects, there are spiders……by thousands I might add…….

Naturally we ate well. No such thing as camping with poor eats in my book. Glades Skiff kitchen made due……really love fishing this skiff during the winter

First class accommodations of course…………..

The short lived cold front a few days prior unfortunately left some looming evidence………….

muerte……..

I used to spend a good amount of time chasing these yellow finned bastards, and it pains me to see them so sensitive to the cold, particularly after the devastating cold front some years ago. While they seem to be making a respectable rebound, it is without hesitation that I would tell anyone that we are years before a true recovery can be claimed.

Lucky for us, we did happen to find a few survivors willing to reward our exploratory efforts………

Say, you seen my fly little buddy?

Not all fish were as hard to convince of our offerings…………….

Exploring new areas of the glades is not characteristically analogous with catching quality fish, but on some occasions things work out as one would have hoped…………regardless you can never be certain to what sights may be met around any hidden corner……..

What the hell was that?

“remain on the walkways” I think not………………….

In route back to reality knowing what’s ahead, and the landscape you just left behind, is serious motivation to return… …….that is the grasp of the glades in the winter

Adios river of grass…………..

Good luck to all the folks fishing the Saltyfly…………

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