Thursday, May 31, 2012

Snook top the list and should improve in June

Eric Porter of Denver, Colo., is all smiles after landing his largest snook ever on fly.
May was snook month for clients of Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing.

Snook, arguably Florida’s most popular inshore gamefish, were hurt by the severe freeze of 2010. That’s when fisheries biologists estimated that 10 percent of the snook along Florida’s west coast may have perished because of the cold.

However, the species seems to have rebounded and is doing well.

We’ve been targeting snook around lighted docks at night or before dawn, on the flats at sunrise and along the beaches. Best action has been around the docks lights, but beach snook action is improving daily.

Eric Porter of Denver, Colo., and his brother, Jeff of Oklahoma City, Okla., both repeat clients, scored on fly rods early in the month, fishing around lighted docks. Using my night snook fly, they each caught snook and had shots at others. Eric Porter’s 27-inch snook was the outing’s top fish.

In addition, Eric Porter landed a 3-pound spotted seatrout on Gibby’s Duster.

His snook and trout were the largest that he’d ever caught on fly.

New kayak angler Dan Benbasset of Riverview, Fla., had a nice introduction. We fished the Buttonwood Harbor area and did well. Dan caught a number of spotted seatrout on D.O.A. CAL Jigs with gold paddles tails and on Zara Super Spook Jrs. He also caught a bonnethead shark and several ladyfish.

Jeff Voigt of Spokane, Wash., and Lloyd Dyer of Saskatchewan had a fair outing. The fly anglers caught snook and spotted seatrout around lighted docks and nearby grass flats on my night snook fly, Gibby’s Duster and Clouser Deep Minnows.

Mike Green of Cartersville, Ga., caught a load of spotted seatrout and a few ladyfish on D.O.A. Deadly Combinations (popping cork and D.O.A. Shrimp) while fishing Buttonwood Harbor north and east of Whale Key.

John Anderson of Portland, Ore., did well on spotted seatrout, flounder and ladyfish on the D.O.A. Deadly Combination at Buttonwood Harbor. He fished two days in a row and did well. We tried for redfish on the second day, but didn’t hook up.

The Deadly Combination is a great lure this time of year. Simply tie a fluorocarbon leader below the float (clacker) and adjust it for the depth you’re fishing. Add a D.O.A. Shrimp or jig below it and you’re set.

It’s an easy and productive rig to use. I cast it out, allow the shrimp to sink, and then reel in the slack and give the float/clacker and couple of sharp tugs. The noise attracts predator fish. When they swim up to investigate, they see the shrimp and usually inhale it.

When the float/clacker goes under, reel up any slack and set the hook.

This rig has produced trout to 7 pounds for me.

Jeff Voigt and Lloyd Dyer joined me again after their trek to southern Florida. This time, they fished the beach for snook. They each caught or hooked snook on Gibby’s Hare of the Snook Fly.

Even Burck of Washington and A.J. Gottschalk of Buffalo, N.Y. fished the beaches with me and caught small snook on D.T. Variations.

Snook are plentiful along the beaches, but the bite hasn’t been great – yet. The action should pick up as we move into summer.

Those booking beach snook outings usually get a shot at 200 snook or more, including some whoppers.

We’ve been encountering schools of 15 to 30-pound snook. The big fish do not eat very often, but they can be taken on fly. Largest fly-rod snook we’ve hooked and landed over the years is a 40-incher.

In addition to snook, we sometimes encounter spotted seatrout, flounder, ladyfish, jack crevalle, redfish, mangrove snapper, houndfish and (occasionally) tarpon.

The June outlook calls for continued increase in snook along the beaches, good to excellent fishing for snook at night around dock lights, good topwater action on redfish in shallow water and plenty of spotted seatrout over the deep grass areas of Sarasota Bay.

As always, I want to thank my sponsors: Native Watercraft, D.O.A. Lures, Temple Fork Outfitters, Aqua-Bound Paddles, Economy Tackle and Peak Fishing.

Call or email me to book a trip.

Steve Gibson

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing

(941) 284-3406


  1. o boy, nice blog and nice fish. it was a nice story. loved it. i am a big fan of fishing, specially Fishing In Dubai

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