If a situation ever arises that would force me to choose between driving 2 hours to Erie to fish for steelhead or fly 2 and a half hours to Florida to fish for tarpon, specks, bonefish, jacks, ‘cuda, snook, etc, etc, I’m taking Florida. I’ve never been a beach person but it’s not even a contest.
This was my first trip to fish Florida and after mining metric tons of internet info on the subject I was dizzy. A 9wt with an intermediate tip line and a small box of basic flies would have to do. I’ve become quite fond of saltwater flies and there are quite a few that I’d like to tie but stainless steel hooks aren’t cheap.
The beach is funny at 6:30 AM. There are drunks laying around with half finished Coronas, garbage, and a tide’s worth of seaweed washed up on the shore…all conveniently swept away by city employees before the lifeguards open their towers at 10:00 AM and subsequently the masses arrive to stake their rectangles of beach front real estate for the day.
I’ve fished with enough skilled guys to know that my casting needs work. A steady 15 to 20 MPH (or was it knots? what’s the difference, it was damn windy) breeze out of the south for two days reinforced this notion. Facing east and casting right handed put a fly in the collar of my shirt and another one into my right forearm. A size 2 Mustad in your arm is a good reason to remember to pinch down those barbs. Fortunately my cast had collapsed and the hook didn’t give me too much trouble. I ended up casting back handed the rest of the day.
So again, I’m new at this. I don’t know anything for certain. I was just going off of any internet info I could dredge up but a repetetive theme was that you can catch snook off of the beach in summer. Snook will winter over in the back bays, rivers, and canals and then move towards the salt as summer sets in and water temps rise. They’ll spawn and then move toward the beach for the summer where they ambush baitfish caught in the wash. They can get so shallow that their backs come out of the water as they run down prey up on the sand. I really think I was about a month and a half early for this but I got lucky anyhow.
So in conclusion, snook are awesome. They readily crush flies, they fight like crazy, and they can get damn big. A large one could really put a hem in your dress. And if anyone finds a pair of discontinued polarized Smith sunglassed rolling around in the Atlantic, those are mine.