Monday, July 31, 2017

Beach snook cooperated for fly-fishing anglers during July

Beach snook action hit high gear in July after a fairly slow start.

Stewart Lavelle shows off a fine fly-rod snook.
I had several clients fishing with me who caught their personal best snook on fly. Top of the chart goes to Stewart Lavelle of Sarasota, who bested a 28-incher. Ironically, Stewart hooked and lost a bigger snook on his next outing, losing the estimate 38-inch behemoth to a straightened hook.

In two trips, Steward hooked 28 snook and landed 18 -- not bad for his first two beach outings!

John Mallia of Buffalo, N.Y., isn't a fly fisher per se, but he did well on a beach snook trip in early July. John hooked 18 snook and landed 11 to 27 inches. Not only did he catch his largest snook on fly, but also his first snook on fly!

John Weimer joined me for a beach walk and a slow day. However, we found the fish late in the morning and landed five out of nine fish.

I got out by myself on July 11, and the stars were aligned. I hooked 30 snook and landed 22. I had an estimated 35-incher eat my D.T. Variation, but was only tight for a second.

I attended ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sport Fishing Trades) in Orlando and had a very good time. I worked the NuCanoe booth most of the time, but did get to tour the show for a few hours.

A lack of fly-fishing experience didn't hinder John Mallia.
NuCanoe unveiled a pair of new products. First up is the new Flint, a lightweight kayak that is less than $1,000. The new kayak is slightly less than 12 feet in length and has a myriad of features. It drew raves at ICAST. NuCanoe also debuted its new H2Proped Pedal Drive system. The system fits both the Pursuit and Frontier lines.

John Kis, a regular client from New Rochelle, N.Y. experienced his first day on the beach and did well. He landed two of three snook he hooked. There were very good numbers of snook on the beach, but they weren't exactly in a feeding mood.

For beach snook fishing, I use a 6-weight TFO BVK Rod, BVK Reel and an Orvis clear intermediate sinktip line. My fly of choice is none other than my D.T. Variation.

John Kis battles a snook on fly rod.
I have put together a couple of videos on beach snook fishing. You can check them out on YouTube: and In addition, I did an instructional video on how to tie the D.T. Variation:

 There are plenty of snook in the surf and they should remain there for the next month or so. All we need is weather conducive for sight-fishing.

I spent a couple of productive days fly fishing in fresh water. First time out, I launched at Benderson Park and caught 30 bluegill, four bass and a hefty channel catfish. All fish were caught on Gibby's Snymph under a strike indicator.

John Weimer and I headed out to Myakka River State Park, but found little going on. So, we loaded the kayaks back on the trailer and drove to Benderson Park. We caught a few fish  on Gibby's Snymphs, but things didn't get hot until we tied on tandem, No. 12 and 14 Myakka Minnows. We ended the day  with more than 180 bluegill and five bass. We caught two at a time on about 12 occasions. John lost the fish of day. We're not sure what it was, but speculate it was a fairly large bass or channel catfish that was able to get back into the vegetation and break his tippet.

We also discovered hand-sized bluegill in deep water and were able to get them to hit our tandem Myakka Minnows. This lake is not heavily fished.

AUGUST FORECAST: I anticipate very good beach snook action as look was the weather cooperates. August normally is the peak month for this exciting activity. Large fish have been pretty common throughout the summer. In Sarasota Bay, look for decent action on spotted seatrout, snook, ladyfish and mangrove snapper. In local lakes and rivers, expect good bass, bluegill, channel catfish and shellcracker action.

If you'd like to experience some of the best sight-fishing Florida has to offer, please give me a call or email me:

Steve Gibson
Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing


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