Friday, June 11, 2010

Snook along the beach haven't let us down this season

My passion for beach snook fishing goes back 25 years.

Maybe more.

There have been good season and bad seasons. There have been great seasons. The past two years have been excellent.

This season?

Better than I expected.

We had a record cold winter in Florida and there were thousands of snook that were killed because of it. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

But I’ve caught snook every trip. In fact, my clients and I have caught and released 51 snook over eight trips. That’s not great, but it ain’t too bad!

My largest snook this season is a 27-incher. Most of the fish have been ranging from 19 to 24 inches. No matter the size, they’re all strong and feisty.
S.R. Evans, his wife, Amy (top right), and brother-in-law, Fleurent, joined me earlier in the week for a morning of fly fishing for snook along the beach. They did well. The trio totaled seven snook, a Spanish mackerel and a ladyfish on a day that wasn’t the best. The tide was poor and visibility not great.

And they lost several fish that they had hooked.

Of course, all fish too Gibby’s D.T. Variation (right). It’s a fly that I consider the best beach snook fly there is.

Matt Hoover, a Naples guide, sent me a well-used D.T. Special many years ago.

“It’s the only fly you’ll ever need for beach snook,” he said.

How right he was.

The D.T. Special is nothing more than a Stu Apte Tarpon Fly tied on a small hook in all white.

I’ve tweaked it a bit over the years. I don’t slay the tail feathers and I don’t cover the shank of the hook with thread. I add eyes and cover them with epoxy.

The fly has taken more than 5,000 beach snook over the years. And that’s a conservative guess!

No two beach snook seasons are ever the same. There are no fences holding the fish. And beach geography changes from month to month and year to year.

I used to do virtually all of my beach snook fishing along Casey Key. I still fish that stretch of beach, but only a couple of times a season. I’ve switched to a more productive beach. Reason is that there are long stretches of barren water along Casey Key.

I stay on top of the fish at all times during the season. I know where they are and where anglers will have the best shot.

Las t season, I had the day of a lifetime. I caught and released 15 snook to 39 inches, three redfish to 33 and jumped three giant tarpon – all from the beach. Six of the snook went 28 inches or more.

My best day in terms of numbers of snook is 41. I’ve had many days of 20 or more.

In addition to snook, tarpon and redfish, you also might encounter Spanish mackerel,  spotted seatrout, jack crevalle, ladyfish, flounder, tripletail, cobia, whiting and other species.

If you’ve never tried this exciting sport, it just might be the time. It’s all sight-fishing and loads of fun!

1 comment:

  1. You have me convinced to make a trip over to the west coast for some beach fishing the next time i'm S. Fla!