Fishing Ding Darling refuge

Fishing Ding Darling refuge

While most go to Ding Darling refuge to enjoy the birding and occasional alligator, it is a secret gem for fishing.  In the wintertime when a cold front comes through, the fish will take refuge in the mangroves from the cooler waters of the bay.  If you wanted to cast net up some mullet they can be seen everywhere jumping out of the waters in the refuge.  Trout, Redfish, and snook are the main species caught here.  If you have a kayak or canoe to fish from this is the spot.  Covered by mangroves and little nooks and crannies holding fish, a kayak can really help get you to that hot spot. Remember you can only do this from the right side of the road though.  The left side does not allow launching of a craft, however you can still fish from both sides from the  shore.   Baby tarpon are a fun one to catch here too as they have no where to go but up.  You can usually expect to get 3 to 4 jumps out of them before releasing them.  Be sure to have the drag set fairly tight as the fish will quickly wrap up the line in the mangrove roots if let them. Keep in mind bugs can be really bad here.  Bring some good spray especially early and late in the day!