Without a doubt, the biggest bang for your buck right now is Snook. Although the season is closed, your chance of taming a big Snook with a fly rod will never be better. They will be found in two locations. Along the beach large females usually pursued by several males will be in the trough that is adjacent to the sand.
The second hot spot is lighted areas at night where shrimp and baitfish are attracted to photo plankton that is in the water adjacent to well lit areas. Both beaches and dock lights that are close to passes will be especially productive.
A recent early morning trip with Capt. Mel had us both busy with top water action inches from the beach. Although we were in my flats boat, this is the best wading or walking opportunity you will ever have for mister Snook. It will be more walking than wading because you will want to stay out of the water and walk the beach close to the edge. As the sun rises, the fish will be visible chasing baitfish inches from the sand. Cast parallel to the beach, not perpendicular to it. Topwater action will be explosive at first light. White seems to be the best color for both topwater and sub surface offerings. Any popper or slider style will work. My favorites are made by Edgewater Fishing Products, Clearfield, Utah. Several fly shops in my area have the foam heads or finished flies available. Use at least a thirty pound shock tippet. For sinking flies I use fluorocarbon, but for anything that floats, I prefer Mason hard mono available in small spools at most bait and tackle stores. Because fluorocarbon leader sinks, it will affect the action of your popper, causing the head to submerge instead of float. With any floating presentation, use a loop knot. Check Mel’s section on knots for a good one. An eight or nine weight nine foot fly rod with a floating weight forward line will be perfect.
Sub surface presentations will work better with a clear sinking tip weight forward line. If you only have a floating line, use it. The sinking tip reacts better to the wave action that may be present. When using a clear sink tip, a four foot thirty pound fluorocarbon leader will be adequate. Clousers, deceivers and any baitfish imitation in white or chartreuse over white in sizes 1 or 1/0 should work.
A stripping basket will make life easy for you and allow you to efficiently manage line as you walk and cast. A plastic waste receptacle with a bungie cord around your waste is an inexpensive arrangement that will keep you from talking to yourself over line management.
Don’t wait another day because this opportunity will not last forever.
The next article will deal with fishing for Snook around lighted docks and bridges.
By Capt. Pat “Fly Guy” Damico