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5 Everglades Fish You Can Encounter on a Fishing Charter

It’s no secret that South Florida is a haven for saltwater and freshwater fish alike. But, many people are surprised to find out that the River of Grass is flush with fish! Yes, the Florida Everglades has some of the best bass fishing in America. When you set off on our bass fishing guide service at Mack’s Fish Camp, there are many other fish you could see! Here’s some info on some species of Everglades fish.

Bowfin

A long, stout fish, bowfins are strong fighters, and have been known to snatch lures from unsuspecting anglers! They have long dorsal fins and rounded tailfins. At first glance, they can be mistaken for a bullseye snakehead fish.

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Largemouth Bass

The largemouth bass is the most popular game fish in North America. They’re also the state freshwater fish of Florida, and with good reason. These bass are found statewide, and are found near vegetation. A big catch for a largemouth bass in Florida starts around 24 inches long and weigh 8 pounds!

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Florida Gar

This long, torpedo-shaped fish is generally not considered a game fish. But it’s aggressive eating habits can offer a good fight. Its long snout and thick, armored scales give the Florida Gar an almost prehistoric look. It also breathes through gills and an air bladder, and must surface periodically for air.

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Channel Catfish

Identified by their whisker-like barbells and forked tail, channel catfish are the most –fished catfish species in America. They are a popular catch for food, and are attracted to strong odors. Shrimp or other commercial stink baits are recommended for them.

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Tarpon

A very popular sport fish in South Florida, tarpon are found in both saltwater and freshwater habitats. When it’s not quite warm yet in during spring, tarpon are very abundant in the Everglades, especially the younger ones. They can grow quite large, weighing over 200 pounds!

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How weather conditions affect Everglades fish

The Everglades dry season (December though April) often leads to extended periods of drought, and lower water levels. While this can concentrate fish in gator holes, sloughs, and canals, it leaves them exposed to predators in marshes. Their numbers are replenished and more abundant during the flooding of the Everglades wet season, though much less concentrated.

The fish in the Everglades are vital to this ecosystem. They are a primary food source for alligators, birds, and larger fish. Fish also help manage Everglades insect populations. Whether you explore on our bass guide service or just take an Everglades tour on an airboat, you’re sure to see plenty of them!


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Why the Best Everglades Fishing is at Mack's Fish Camp

South Florida is a paradise for fans of the outdoors, especially those who love fishing. The Everglades has an ecosystem that is home to large numbers of Peacock bass and largemouth bass, along with other species like Florida gar and tarpon.

A popular fishing spot, the Everglades holds a record for the most fish caught per person per hour, which is impressive when taking into account Florida’s many lakes and rivers.

If you’re a professional angler or it’s your first time fishing, here’s how you can have the experience of a lifetime Everglades fishing at Mack’s Fish Camp in Miami.

Land a Lunker On a Jon Boat Rental or Guided Fishing Tour

At Mack’s Fish Camp we have everything you need to have a fun and successful Everglades fishing trip. We offer jon boat rentals, and sell tackle, beverages and snacks at our store. But, if you’d like to have some help navigating the Everglades, and are up for some exploration while you do, Mack’s Fish Camp offers airboat bass fishing guide service.

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Gladesmen who have fished the Everglades since they were born will be your knowledgeable guides, showing you both great fishing spots and the unique beauty of the River of Grass.  On this 4-hour Everglades fishing trip, you’ll be provided with tackle, fishing rods and reels, sunscreen, bug spray, and a cooler packed with refreshments from our store.

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Everglades Airboat Bass Fishing

Bass fishing on an airboat has its own distinct advantages. Because airboats move by a propeller that’s above the water, their movement doesn’t disturb fish as much as traditional boat motors do. Also, airboats can navigate over shallow water in marshes, allowing more access to areas of the Everglades than regular boats can.

But in addition to an amazing fishing trip, you’ll be treated to an to an airboat ride where you’ll see many species of Everglades wildlife up close. The Everglades is home to many birds like egrets, roseate spoonbills, great blue heron, and is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist.

Bass fishing in the Everglades provides a great time in truly unique and beautiful place. At Mack’s Fish Camp, taking an Everglades fishing trip while enjoying an airboat ride provides a thrill for the whole family. Whether fishing alone or with a guide, the Florida Everglades provides plenty of great weather, incredible scenery, and of course, plenty of fish!


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Everglades Airboat Tours: Summer Fun Close to Home!

Going into late July, we’re entering the dreaded “Dog days of summer” in South Florida. You’ve probably taken a family summer vacation out of town, and the kids will be headed back to school in a few weeks. With summertime running out and starting to drag, you might be feeling the itch for one more adventure. So, why not seek it in your own backyard? Everglades airboat tours are a great way to have some late summer family fun in Florida without the theme park price tag

Exciting and Educational All Ages Fun

Taking an airboat ride in the Everglades can be a blast for all ages. Young or old, toddler or teen, Everglades airboat tours provide excitement and exploration for all ages. With a born and bred, fifth-generation Gladesmen as your guide, you’ll learn a lot about the Everglades ecosystem and the over 350 animal species that thrive here.

Theme Park Thrills Without The Lines

While Florida theme parks are bursting with attractions and rides, they’re also bursting with large crowds in the summer. Lines and wait times can be up to 2 hours long for rides that last for only a few minutes. In South Florida, the Everglades is a hidden gem just west of the sunny beaches of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and Miami. When you come to take a private airboat tour at Mack’s Fish Camp, the ride is waiting for you, never the opposite.

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With the many northern visitors Florida receives during the winter, it’s no secret that Florida is warm year-round. The increased humidity coupled with rising temperatures can make even a trip to the beach a tiring ordeal, and The Everglades can feel the heat, too.

In the summer, Everglades airboat tours are best-enjoyed in the morning until noon and in the late afternoon. In addition to the temperature being more hospitable to people then, much of the Everglades wildlife, like the many bird species residing here, are more active then. Also, if you take an airboat ride later in the day, you can witness a vivid, wildly colorful Everglades sunset.

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Beat the Heat and See Real Florida Magic

Time and money can take on more importance as summer break draws to a close. Even with the school year looming large, you want to make good use of that extra time with your family. If you live in South Florida, taking an airboat ride at Mack’s Fish Camp in the Everglades is an exciting and affordable way to do that while staying close to home.


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Things to Bring on an Everglades Airboat Tour

Taking an Everglades airboat tour is an exciting way to explore this hidden part of Florida. But it’s important that you bring everything you need to have a fun trip. Before you embark on your adventure here at Mack’s Fish Camp, make sure that you have these essentials.

Comfortable Clothing – An airboat ride is a casual affair, so there’s no need to dress up. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. Long-sleeved shirts and pants can deter bugs, but could be uncomfortable in the Florida heat and humidity.

Water – It’s true that the Everglades is a source of drinking water, but the water you’ll be seeing on the tour isn’t really drinkable. Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated.

Polarized Sunglasses – UVA/UVB sunglasses can protect your eyes from harsh solar rays. Polarized lenses reduce glare, which will make it easier for you to spot Everglades wildlife.

Camera – Your airboat tour guide will bring you up-close to some unique Florida wildlife, and more will appear on your trip. Snap some photos to show off the epic scenery to your friends.

Binoculars – Not all animals you notice may be too easily seen. Bringing these can help you to better see things like bird nests from far away.

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The following items are all provided and included with your Everglades airboat tour, so if you meant to bring them but forgot, we’ve got you covered!

Sun Screen – Florida can definitely live up to its nickname of “The Sunshine State”, and that sunshine can even cause sunburns on cloudy days. Applying some sunscreen can keep a sunburn from being one of your memories of the ride.

Raincoat / Poncho – That sunshine can switch to rain quickly in Florida, especially during the summer months. So it’s a good idea to keep a raincoat on-hand.

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Insect Repellant – Bugs can be as abundant as gators and ibises out here. This item can be helpful if you opt to wear shorts or a t-shirt.

Hearing Protection – Because airboat motors get very loud, we always carry ear muffs to provide comfortable, over-ear protection.

Having these items will help you to enjoy an Everglades airboat tour comfortably and safely. But make sure not to bring any loose-fitting clothing that could get blown away by the wind. If you have any questions about our airboat tours, please contact us at 954-536-7400


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See the Everglades or the Beach: Why Not Both?

Many people travel from all over the world to South Florida and visit the beaches in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, and some aren’t aware that the Everglades even exists! Other people who visit Florida are aware of the Glades and snub it entirely, preferring the sea and sand. Being such different places, both have their individual appeal, and we see the Everglades as the overlooked side of the same sunny coin that is Florida.

A Crowded Coast and an Open Wilderness

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Great Blue Heron

Spending a day at the beach, having the tides wash over your toes can be quite relaxing, but the crowding of the area can reduce that significantly. Out west, past the city and sprawling suburbs, lies 1.5 million acres of undeveloped wilderness that are home to 350 species of birds and 23 endangered and threatened species.

When you’re visiting the coast, the calm of the sea can be overtaken by the noise and clutter of the city, which can be as tiresome as it is charming. For what the Everglades lacks in creature comforts, it more than makes up for in a sprawling landscape waiting to be explored on a private airboat tour.

A Private Airboat Tour: Relaxation and Exploration

Several different habitats make up the vast ecosystem of the Everglades, making it a great place to explore and compliments the static calm of the beach. Camping, hiking and canoeing are all great ways to discover the ecology of Everglades wildlife. Taking a private airboat tour is an exciting way to see the best areas of the River of Grass up close!

Another great way to immerse yourself in the Everglades is to go on a guided fishing charter. You get all of the relaxation of fishing on a beach pier or jetty while venturing into a part of Florida seen by few people.

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Everglades Bass Fishing Charter

Much to do, and more to see!

The beach has some wildlife, but save for seagulls and pelicans the few animals there are most active at dawn before people start showing up. The Everglades is home to several species of birds, amphibians and reptiles, including the iconic American alligator.

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Roseate Spoonbill

Wading birds like the Great Blue Heron, wood stork, and roseate spoonbill nest here in droves in the winter and raise their young into late spring. Once the wet season begins in June, alligators, frogs and turtles become more visible.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in South Florida there is plenty of it all around. Some of it is hiding in plain sight, just as easy to miss as it is rewarding to find. When you take a private airboat tour at Mack’s Fish Camp, you’ll discover a hidden treasure more valuable than gold: adventure!


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Why Your Child Should See the Everglades

For many kids, they might see Florida as the bottom right corner of America, or more likely as the place they went to that fun theme park. Even kids living in Florida might know as much, along with maybe who Ponce Deleon is or how to spell “Okeechobee”. No matter where they’re from, any child can learn a lot on an Everglades airboat tour and have a blast at the same time!

Dinosaurs live in the Everglades

The Everglades is home to an animal descended from the mighty dinosaurs, the American alligator.  They’re so abundant here that you and your child may lose count of how many you spot on an Everglades airboat tour. Though far from cuddly, they’re mostly calm and docile creatures, but are still wild animals and should be regarded as such.

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350 Species of birds live here, too!

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Gators aren’t the only Everglades wildlife you’ll see during your visit. There are over 300 bird species here, the most interesting being wading birds and birds of prey, and you’ll hear and see many of them. Most wading birds like the Great Egret and Great Blue Heron stalk the shallow marshes for fish, quickly using their pointed beaks and long necks to catch them.

In areas with deeper water, anhingas can be see diving while swimming and emerging with fish. If you keep an eye on the tree tops, you’ll spot birds of prey like red-shouldered hawks, ospreys, and even peregrine falcons, if you don’t see them in flight.

Explore several different habitats

Along with the diverse wildlife, you child will see the unique habitats that make up the Everglades. An airboat eco tour can take you to hardwood hammock forests, alligator-filled sawgrass marshes, and islands of cypress trees. With knowledgeable, fifth-generation Gladesmen guiding you tour, you’ll learn about the ecology of this unique environment while enjoying the fast paced thrill of an airboat ride.

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Children are effortlessly prone to distraction. Getting and keeping the attention of a child is an act most parents would call a superpower. Kids can’t help but have a sharp sense of novelty and adventure because everything is new to them! But, do you remember the first time you saw the ocean, or even a full moon rise?

It’s moments like these that make memories for a child that last a lifetime. The fun and excitement of introducing them to the Florida Everglades on an airboat ride could be one of those moments.


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Public Versus Private Airboat Tours

Having so many different types of habitats, much of them covered by water, taking an airboat tour would definitely be the best way to experience the Everglades. The question is which is the better option for you,  public or private airboat tours?

The Florida Everglades is a magnificent place that offers a chance to explore that can’t be found near the beaches of Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Being the largest subtropical ecosystem in the United States, it’s home to a great variety of native plants and wildlife. There may be zoos near the city where people can see exotic animals, but it’s far more exciting to view them in their natural habitat.

Public Airboat Tours

Public airboat tours are an affordable way to see the Everglades, because they usually include other activities with the admission price, like nature shows featuring Florida wildlife and, alligator wrestling. While offering a bigger bang for your buck, you may feel that you’ve traded a quality experience for quantity. Public airboat tours tend to run short, being only 30-45 minutes on average.  Also, many public airboat tours are given on larger airboats which can’t move quickly, further limiting how far they can travel inside of an hour.

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Another drawback from these higher-capacity boats is the overhead covering and lack of elevated seating can make it harder to see or photograph the wildlife or scenery.

Private Airboat Tours

Taking a private airboat tour is going to cost more money, but you’ll also receive more personal attention from your guide. Unlike the public rides, private tours typically last an hour or longer, and offer a better chance to learn plenty of valuable information about the Everglades from your tour guide.

And rather than seeing only a handful of Florida wildlife in a nature show, you’ll get to observe more species of wading birds, reptiles, and more in their natural environment.  The longer duration of private tours will let you explore the many distinct habitats of the Everglades ecosystem.

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What kind of airboat tour would you choose?

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When visiting South Florida, there is plenty of adventure to be found west of the beach.  All of the glow and noise of the coast is easily rivaled by venturing into the unique wilderness of the Everglades. If you’re looking to visit a one of a kind place, why settle for a “one size fits all” experience?

At Mack’s Fish Camp,  we specialize in private airboat tours lasting from 1 to over 3 hours, with fifth-generation Florida Gladesmen  as your guide.  If you’re ready to trade the pre-packaged theme park experience for an authentic taste of Florida, come see us.


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What is an Airboat, Anyway?

The airboat is known as a transportation standard of swamps and marshes the world over, including the Florida Everglades. It also provides a fast and exciting way to experience the River of Grass and other habitats of this unique region of South Florida. They are also called fanboats, blowboats, or “What kind of boat is that?” by the uninitiated. Simply put, they are flat-bottomed boats, also called jon boats, that are moved by a large propeller at the back of it. Before you go airboating in Miami, here is some background information for both the experts and the curious alike.

Airboat History

The first airboat, dubbed “The Ugly Duckling”, was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1905 in Nova Scotia. In 1920, aviation pioneer and Florida native, Glenn Curtiss, helped build “The Scooter”, which had a closed cabin that could hold six passengers and had a large, uncovered propeller in the back of the craft. The flat-bottom version as we know it is largely credited to a homemade design built by Leo Young, Hortin Jensen, and Cecil Williams in the 1940’s. When word spread about their innovation, the design’s popularity made it the standard.

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Some Airboat Facts and Stats

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  • Until the 1980’s, they used aircraft engines. But for ease of maintenance, they have been largely replaced by automotive engines
  • Similar to airplanes, most are driven by a throttle stick and another stick to turn right or left
  • While some racing models can reach speeds upwards of 130 miles per hour, they are most safely operated at around 50 MPH, which is important because…
  • They don’t have brakes. Some designed for rescue in colder climates have them to prevent slipping on ice. Operating one involves knowing when to slow down to bring it to a stop.

The Florida Everglades is a large place, with an impressive variety of terrain and wildlife to see here. Offering both an exciting ride and a fun, educational experience for the whole family, airboating in Miami offers a glimpse into an overlooked, but unforgettable part of Florida. Navigating the Everglades by airboat is and has been a vital part of the Gladesmen Culture here at Mack’s Fish Camp for generations, one that we have the privilege of sharing with you.


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Ready To Take an Airboat Ride in Miami?

You’re about to head to South Florida, packed and ready to enjoy some time relaxing near one of its many beautiful beaches. But, if you’re craving some time away from the artificial reefs of city hotels, and some excitement for the whole family, why not book an Everglades airboat tour?

A unique, and memorable experience for everyone, airboating in Miami is also a fun and educational way to see the Florida Everglades. If you’re wondering as to what an airboat is or what the benefits of riding one might be, here’s a quick overview to get you started.

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Airboats, Transportation Standard of The Everglades

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Airboats, also known as fanboats or blowboats, are flat-bottomed boats powered by aircraft engines fitted with caged propellers on the back of the vessel. By having these large propellers spinning above the water, airboats are able to cross the mostly shallow waters of the Florida Everglades quickly, while getting access to its more remote areas better than boats with standard engines. Along with their elevated seating, airboats provide a unique and exciting way for passengers to see out and over plants and grass and observe the wide variety of wildlife that inhabits the Everglades.

Get up Close with South Florida Wildlife

Florida is recognized as having a lot of three things: oranges, beaches, and the American alligator. They like to make their homes here in the Everglades, so airboating in Miami is the best way to see them and the many other animal species that reside here too. The Everglades is an environment with incredible biodiversity, with wading birds like the Roseatte Spoonbill and Great Blue Huron, turtles, and more calling it home. Once endangered in the 1980’s, the alligators have bounced back so well that you’re likely to lose count of how many you see while on an Everglades airboat tour.

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Miami Airboat Tours – Experience the Florida Everglades

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The Everglades truly is a gem of South Florida, one that no other state has. Outdoor sportsmen, nature enthusiasts and thrill-seeking families alike come from around the world to explore this area, many opting to tour it on a guided airboat ride to best experience it. At Macks’s Fish Camp, you and your family get to behold the vast, natural beauty of the Everglades, guided by the fifth-generation Florida Gladesmen who call it home, at an exciting pace. The chance to see the wide variety of local wildlife and a private airboat tour is just the activity to make for a complete family vacation to South Florida.


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The Florida Everglades: An Escape From City Living

During your daily commute, you might spy a glance at a stretch of wilderness that seems unexplored when compared to your all-to-familiar routes to and from work. Getting settled into a traffic bottleneck, you recall that patch of wild earth you saw. You wonder not so much about what exploring it would reveal, only how glad you would be to be there at that very moment.

Sure, you may get a break at work, but what you’re after is a real escape from the maze of city living.

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Some would argue that people require constant mental stimulation, but really the opposite is true. Living in a city environment makes a person’s brain work harder to process all of the random sounds and constant movement around them

The burnout of so much focus can make us irritable and impatient, but spending time outdoors can give your brain a much-needed break. Being in nature puts the brain in a type of cruise control called soft fascination, where you’re relaxed and your mind is focused effortlessly.

Ergret, Miami Everglades Wildlife

Spending time outdoors, away from the routines of urban living, can inspire you to explore.

The River of Grass, At Your Own Pace

If the saying “familiarity breeds contempt” rings true for you, that could be reason enough to break out of the urban sprawl. Taking a canoe trip through the Florida Everglades is a great way to see different varieties of wildlife and immerse yourself in its vast landscape. Or if that’s not your speed, a private airboat tour across the alligator holes and sawgrass is the thrilling reunion with the outdoors you need.

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With the hectic pace that modern life is set to, sunrises and sunsets can end up just being bookends to a day. When you visit Mack’s Fish Camp, that stubborn urgency is replaced with a sense of timelessness. Having nature so close to the residential areas of South Florida, the simplicity and stillness of the Everglades can easily be overlooked. If you take the time to see it up close, you’ll discover another world hiding in plain sight.