Tips for a great ice fishing trip


Ice fishing could prove a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy the company of your best friends or family members. It is also a good opportunity to test your limits and see if you survive low temperatures and harsh weather conditions.

However, in order to make your trip fun and fruitful, you need to pack carefully and follow some ice fishing trip tips.

Pack the right clothes

The first thing you need to consider when going on an ice fishing trip is to have the right clothes. Whether you decide to spend the night in a tent or simply stay a couple of hours outside, you need lots and lots of layers of clothing.

Bear in mind that winter temperatures are tricky and even though it may look sunny outside this doesn’t mean you’ll get warm. Therefore, you should choose at least an extra pair of thick and dry socks, a waterproof pair of boots, as well as warm and puffy jackets, sweaters, scarves, hats, and gloves.

Always pack an extra set of warm clothing and an electric blanket for emergency situations.


Food and water supplies

Food and beverages are also extremely important as they will give you energy and keep you hydrated when facing the unfriendly forces of winter. It is always recommended to pack some extra food supplies that are rich in proteins and calories. Fatty products like nuts, chocolate or protein bars have enough carbs to provide energy and help you stay warm.

Don’t forget to also bring your thermos with you. Pack some extra hot cocoa, tea or coffee and avoid alcohol. Although you’ll feel like warming up at the beginning, alcohol will only get you dehydrated and cause you to lose important energy and heat. Don’t forget to also drink plenty of water.

Check out the ice

Although this might sound silly, you should carefully check the ice before reaching your favorite fishing spot. Stay away from thin ice and shallow waters as they can be extremely dangerous.

Ice doesn’t have a uniform thickness so picking a safe spot for you to fish could prove a difficult task. Remember that running waters such as rivers usually have thinner ice on top which makes it more dangerous to fish.

Therefore, you should also consider some extra safety precautions when ice fishing. Never fish alone and always let your loved ones know exactly where you are. Try to keep your phone charged at all times and always be equipped with a flashlight or torch in cases of emergency. An emergency whistle may also prove in handy, especially if you happen to get lost or have an accident.


Why you should visit the Everglades

Since I do work as a tour guide in the Florida Everglades I am probably a little biased. But I am convinced that this is one place that everyone should make an effort to see. Many people have a preconceived notion that the Everglades are just one big swamp, but I can promise you that this is certainly not true. When you are in the Everglades it is like being in your own world, and you never know what you could see. To help convince you that this is a place that you should visit I’ve decided to devote this post to one of my favorite places.


While everyone knows that the Everglades are home to American Alligators and now some truly huge boa constrictors, did you also know that a wide variety of endangered species also live here. The docile manatee makes it home in the Everglades, and while these are magnificent creatures I still don’t know how sailors could ever mistake one for a mermaid. Florida panthers also call this unique area home, and I have been lucky enough to actually catch a quick glimpse of one. The fact that this area is also recognized as a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve and a Wetland of International Importance should be more than enough to convince you to visit this beautiful area.


If you aren’t already convinced that a visit to the Everglades is in order, maybe this will help convince you. There are several campgrounds in the Everglades that visitors can take advantage of. During the night the area simply comes to life, and it is also when I saw my panther. The Florida heat keeps many of the area’s inhabitants asleep in the cool water or shade, and when the sun goes down there is not telling what you might see. If you stay at one of the resorts you can even sleep in relative luxury. If you do decide to stay at one of the campgrounds I recommend Camp Sable. One of its main draws is its gorgeous beach.


Boaters often come to the Everglades for the sole purpose of following the 99 mile Wilderness Waterway. This water trail generally takes around 8 days to complete and it might be one of the best trips of your life. Not only do you get to travel through the entire system, but you will have some of the best views of the land and water. Canoes, kayaks and powerboats are all welcome on the waterway, and you can even rent one at the start of the trail. You’ll also pass by several campgrounds so you don’t even have to sleep in the boat.



How to dress when fishing in Florida

Above all, Florida is one of the sunniest locations of any fishing expedition that may arise. That’s why you may want to know that you’re prepared on all accounts and that you have all the pieces of equipment that’re needed in order to have the best performance and bring home as many catches as possible.


If you’re wondering whether the colors are important or not, I’ve seen that they rarely make a good consideration to give a lot of thought to, unless you choose bright ones such as white. I personally recommend muted greens, as well as browns, mostly because in this way, you’ll be able to become one with the environment, and the sun won’t reflect on your clothes and bother you when looking at the water or your target. You’ll see that most fishermen actually recommend dark clothing in order to blend as well as possible with the background, and even attract fewer insects, including mosquitos. Fish aren’t as gullible as we like to think they are, so it may be worth pointing out that they can get scared when spotting a large white and shiny thing waiting for them on the shore.

In Florida, some of the critically acclaimed pieces of clothing that can be found on the market today resemble the Columbia style fishing clothes that are rather common virtually everywhere. While some people argue that the type of clothes you will be wearing, their design, or their color may matter less, these details can be crucial when fishing in clear and still waters.


Clothes that offer plenty of sun protection are the ones you have to consider. Be sure to pack up on some sunscreen if you intend to fish in Florida, as the sun will be up in the sky for many hours on end. If you’re uncomfortable with sweating in your fishing clothes, it may be a good idea to look for breathable materials, even though these are less durable compared to their synthetic counterparts.


At the same time, getting a good pair of sunglasses should be one of your priorities. Think of this way. If you intend to sit for many hours waiting for that fish to bite, you need some sort of sun protection or else you’ll squint and cry all of the time. A high-quality pair of polarized sunglasses might not necessarily be reasonably priced, but you have to consider it an investment. Otherwise, you find fishing extremely uncomfortable due to the fact that sunlight can and will be reflected in the waters you’re in or next to. Additionally, maybe you’d like to get a cheap cap or any kind of hat you feel comfortable with. Of course, there are models intended primarily for fishing, but this is the area where you can do without high-end head protection, particularly if you sit in the shade.

These are the most important things I’ve found to be most useful when going out fishing in Florida. Hope these suggestions can be of help to you.


The Florida tour guide

My name is Jerome Swanson and I am a tourist guide in Florida. I principally offer guiding tours at the Everglades reservation. My main attributes are to show to groups of people the main attractions of the reservation, guide them into the wilderness, join them in various activities, but also give indications when necessarily. It’s not an easy job, as it requires you to be polite all the time, give your attention to several people at the same time and respond to their requests.

Welcome to Florida USA

Tourism is a field where you can get all sorts of questions, related to basically any aspect of the place you are visiting. The topic of the questions spans from historical events to mere curiosities. As such, you can’t afford to practice this profession unprepared. You must always be well documented on various fields and keep yourself updated on any novelties related to the area you are guiding in.


Of course, you need to master perfectly the subject you are talking about, so that you are able to explain it to others. Otherwise, you won’t be considered a skilled guide and you won’t attract people to come back to that site.  However, sometimes, even if you are the most experimented guide with years of practices behind you, it’s still hard to give the proper explanations about a place or culture. For example, it’s mighty difficult to explain the importance of the Pantheon to people who have no notions of architecture, engineering, or the Roman Empire.


The baggage of information that the tourists dispose of when visiting a famous tourist destination is crucial so that they grasp the meaning and importance of that location. Most of them visit a place because they’ve heard it is an important one to visit, without having any knowledge whatsoever about it. In these cases, it’s really difficult to make the information you provide them with to stick. Indeed, it is easier for tourists to entertain themselves when visiting a natural reservation, such as the Everglades, particularly if you compare it to the experience a normal person has when visiting an archaeological site. The difference is tremendous, as an historical site needs more than the simple image in front of your eyes to be properly understood and categorized.


So, to unleash my frustrations, I have decided to start this blog and write about the main problems that us, professionals in the field, encounter daily. Also, I will try to battle some local tourism problems related to disinformation by sharing posts about various places worth visiting in Florida, so that interested people get some basic ideas on what should they look for when they get at the wanted location. Besides, I’ll try to come up with methods through which we can make public interested and curious about natural reservations and other local monuments important for this region.


Catching tarpon – the best fishing experience

The large fish called tarpon belong to the genus Megalops, the only members of which are two. One species is native to the Atlantic while the other to the Indo-Pacific Oceans. Growing to more than 7 feet long and over 300 pounds heavy, tarpon is typically sighted close to shore, which makes it the perfect target for someone who doesn’t own a big watercraft. Primary food for tarpon are crabs, shrimp and fish. The large scales of tarpon make a great souvenir. Tarpon are not good for eating due to their plentiful bones so they end up being released after getting caught.


The largest tarpon are all captured in Africa, with Sierra Leone being popular in this respect. It is said that you may not get plenty of tarpon there but the few you do get are quite huge. Costa Rica on the Caribbean side shows plenty of potential for tarpon fishing. In Nicaragua, there is a small fishery near the Rio Indio Lodge that enables easy access to the open ocean compared to plenty of spots in that region.


Hooking a tarpon is a huge challenge because its mouth is uncommonly bone-tough. Tarpon can put up a big fight when hooked, attempting to throw you off by getting rid of the hook or a section of the leader when it does battle with you. Tarpon can thrash wildly about, making big leaps almost twice the length of its body as it tries to free itself right out of the water. Baits and hooks seem to work well where lures only lose you more than you actually land.



Tarpon is considered one of the great saltwater game fish thanks to its enormous size and the fight it can give you due to its ability to make high leaps. It is also present on in their top 10 fighting fish. Fishing tarpon doesn’t require heavy duty tackle. You can even land a 100-pound tarpon using just an 8-pound line, if you are a seasoned angler who relishes the challenge. If not, go for a 30-pound test line, which would be light enough to withstand a fierce battle but with enough heft not to get the fish extremely tired. Monofilament line can take the violent struggle the fish makes although braided line can work fine as well. Juvenile tarpon will not need such super heavy tackle despite the fact that they are also not that easy to land as their larger counterparts.


Try your hand at tarpon fishing nearshore and in estuaries and rivers. You can hook the fish on jerkbaits but be prepared for the treble hooks to get dislodged. Tarpon will succumb to different lures such as poppers, jigs and soft plastics. Go for lures with a single hook, if possible, so the fish won’t have too many opportunities to shake the gear loose. Hooks outfitted with slide-away lures provide less leverage for the tarpon.


A hooked tarpon will nearly always leap high in the air instantaneously and start thrashing violently around. Keep a slack line to offset all the wild activity. An overly tight line can snap easily. When the fish leaps back into the water, that’s the time you reel the line tight and raise the fishing rod. When the tarpon ceases to leap, apply as much pressure as you can and shift your angles often so as to get the fish disoriented and to help you land it more quickly. If you don’t do so, the tarpon can easily become aware of the pressure it needs to exert against your unidirectional and constant pressure and it is most likely to bring the fight to you once again. The constant pressure also gives the opportunity for the tarpon to get a breather so it can come up for air and then do battle with you again.

If you want to see a giant tarpon caught in Florida, you can watch this video:


Fishing in Florida

Florida is an excellent fishing place due to its climate and the many sweet spots of freshwater and saltwater. These two characteristics offer fishermen a large palette of choices when it comes to fishing and nature in general. It doesn’t matter if you come here with family, friends, work colleagues, if you love fishing from a boat or from the land, you can find something that will satisfy you and those accompanying you.


The great tourist offer associated with fishing in Florida gives birth to a high competition between providers and so, to fairly affordable prices in this sector, thus, even those who want to go on a low budget trip can pamper themselves by visiting many exquisite fishing locations, where they can test their skills in almost any type of fishing. If you decide to give the Everglades a try, you may want to know that the reservation offers a myriad of options for anglers. You get the opportunity to fish in freshwater and saltwater, from a kayak, boat or from the shore. You can also pick from fishing in organized settings or into the wild, in which case you must secure optimal transport means and gear. As the waters abound in various fish species, organizing your equipment accordingly is a mandatory requirement, if you want to leave the reservation with a good catch.


As Florida’s temperatures are hard to handle, especially if you are not a local, your main concern, or if you’re taking your kids with you should be protecting yourself and them from the powerful action of the sun. As such, sunscreen with an elevated SPF and that is waterproof, comfortable clothes that will provide proper ventilation, sun hats and sunglasses are not to be considered a holiday contrivance, but mandatory items to take with you. In addition, even if you come fully protected against the heat, during the afternoon, when temperatures reach extremely high values, you should stay in the shadow and avoid the sun at all costs.


However, the Everglades is not the only place where you can go on a fishing trip, as the state is overfilled with dozens of opportunities for those interested in this sport. If you want to experience Florida’s best fishing spots, I would recommend a specialized guide or getting in touch with a local, thus being given the opportunity to get to know a few places off the tourist maps and routes. The presence of a guide is all the more important if you are at your first visit to Florida, so that you are able to enjoy your experience instead of roaming around by yourself, looking for transport and lodging.

If you’re wondering what you can fish in Florida’s waters, you may want to know that the most commonly encountered species are: largemouth bass, yellow bullhead, bluegill, Florida gar, mackerel, porgy, sea bass and many others. I hope you enjoy your trip and come back next year!