Summer is prime time for snook. They’re like me, they like it when it’s 96 in the shade. They can be fished for in the winter, we just have to treat them with a little more respect. First and foremost, it is important to handle them with care. They like water temperatures in the 80’s. In fact, if the water temperature gets below 70 they get very lethargic and if it drops below 60 they can die. This is why it is so important to be careful when they’re vulnerable. I try to keep them out of the water as little as possible and keep them wet. Keep in mind, every second that we have have them up in the air is just like someone keeping our head under the water for the same amount of time. If they’re lethargic, it is tougher for them to recover. Typically, the smaller males aren’t as vulnerable as the older females.

When the wind starts to blow out of the north cooling off the shallow water flats adjacent to mangroves that they like to call home they transition or move to find warmer or more stable water temperatures. Here, in southwest Florida they migrate toward coastal river systems, canals, and backcountry creeks. In many cases, they’ll push as far back as they can manage. Around Charlotte Harbor, the Peace and Myakka river systems are prime examples. Also, the many smaller creek systems along the eastern and western border of the harbor as well as throughout Gasparilla Sound and Bull and Turtle Bay provide safe haven during the colder months.

In addition, the snook’s diet changes quite a bit under these circumstances. The abundant scaled sardine or pilchard that is so abundant during the warmer months also move on to the more stable water temperatures offshore in the Gulf. As a result, snook are left to scavenge for the smaller local resident baitfish like killifish and shrimp and crabs.

As a result, I’ll begin throwing smaller patterns to match the available prey species. Clousers, kwans, bend backs, and seaducers are some of my favorites. Smaller hooks like a # 1 or even a #2 are also good and slow down the strip or retreive. When it does get cold they’ll move a little slower kind of like being lazy. However, they do need to eat so they’ll take a fly. Too, keep a tight drag and get them to the skiff quick. try not to allow them to work any harder than they have too.

In short, they’re a great gamefish but need to be treated with some respect when they’re trying to maintain their body warmth.

Spring is coming to the Golden Isles

With the advent of Spring, our waters begin warming.  68 to 70 degrees is the magic temperature.  The big winter schools of reds begin to break up and we are able to find them in more places.  Trout come up from the depths and gather around oyster beds and grass.  In May we expect the first "tailing" tides of the year where the reds get into the grass and tail aggressively grubbing for fiddler crabs.  Tailing redfish in the grass is classic, southern fly fishing for redfish.

In St. Simons we have an interesting fishery chasing free floating triple tail just 1-3 miles off of the beaches.  This is an unusual behavior because they are not floating close to structure.  They are simply free floating.  We look for these fish by idling around just off the beaches.  When I see one, I motor close to it and try put you in a good position for a cast.  The flies are generally lightly weighted or unweighted flies that mimic small shrimp or bait fish.  If you make a good presentation a little beyond and in front of the fish, you may come tight with a triple tail up to 20 pounds.  Triple tail are a hard fighting fish that jumps and runs.  I have said many times, if you can imagine how hard a 10 pound blue gill would pull, that is how hard a Triple Tail pulls.  This pattern runs from late March until June or July.  

At this time of year, I like to combine a red fish and Triple tail trip.  As in all sight fishing, a clear day with light wind makes for the fishing.  So, click the link below to inquire on booking a trip for a species I would bet you have never caught on fly.

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