|Back Country Fishing
| Fishing the backcountry around these waters is, with a couple notable exceptions, a very different affair from what many
people typically think of when they hear “backcountry fishing”. There are areas of water that are more secluded; not as open and
expansive as the bays and flats, not so close to the passes or inlets, and not as affected by current and Gulf water flow. These
are creeks and little bayous or coves that are somewhat removed from the main waterways. They are often mangrove lined, but the
similarity ends there. The backcountry here is in no way as expansive or diverse as the famed Everglades backcountry we fish
here in Florida to the south. You will often find yourself fishing in tight quarters, but within a short distance of the main bays or
the Gulf. The exceptions are a couple of the local rivers. Tarpon and snook often retreat up the rivers as far as the area where
the water turns brackish to spend the winter in darker, warmer water. A trip here can have you in a wilderness within a few miles of
The fishery is a year round affair, but is at its best in the colder months. We usually pursue snook, tarpon, redfish, jacks and
sheepshead. We may happen across numbers of trout, as well as a few snapper, flounder, and even grouper are not uncommon. Of
course, the high jumping ladyfish are always around somewhere. I also target smaller tarpon in some of the interior areas between
Bradenton and Boca Grande. These are not often lengthy affairs and I often combine a dawn patrol for tarpon with another
type of fishing for the balance of the trip. It is not uncommon to encounter one or two fish up to 100 lbs in these areas, but tarpon
between 10 and 40 pounds are the usual quarry. These smaller fish are superb gamefish and are usually more acrobatic than larger
fish. This brand of tarpon fishing is usually a more relaxing experience due to quieter waters and significantly less company than
the beach fishing.
Flyfishing is usually ideal here, as are a number of artificial lures. Live bait is always productive, but often this is a good place to
get introduced to artificial lures in saltwater. This is because many fish we encounter will smack artificials readily without the
coaxing sometimes necessary on a bait filled flat.
Finally, during the colder, windy months, the back country often offers shelter and a place to bask in the warm sun without the
biting wind to ruin the relaxation. Getting there can be choppy and chilly, but once there, sunbathing is even possible on many days
since most of the chill is carried by the wind.