It’s mid-November and what can I say, this past month the fishing has been fantastic in Islamorada and the Florida Keys. Almost all of my attention has been focused on that green backed, yellow finned, line-sided and bucket mouthed fish assassin known as the Snook. The fishing as of late for these guys has been the best it’s been for a long, long time.
Hard to believe that not so long ago, you could pole miles of snooky looking water and not see a single fish. For those of you that don’t know, south Florida and the Keys had an extended cold snap in January of 2010 that lasted close to two weeks. The coldest air temperature I saw at my house was 38 degrees! Nightly temps for that time period never got out of the 40’s. The snook, being a true tropical fish, really took it on the chin. The population was decimated. But that was 2010 and almost five years later it’s a different story. I still think the state of Florida should have kept the season closed on snook for another year to insure a complete comeback but if this past month is any indicator, this great gamefish is back on it’s own two feet, or shall we say fins.
Why all the hubbub about snook? If you have never caught one, or if your experience has been limited to bait, you don’t know what you are missing. Besides, when you can catch snook on fly or artificial, why bother with bait? Personally, getting a snook on fly is one of the coolest things you can do with the long rod. For one, snook are structure oriented and are normally tight to shore. Casts with a fly have to be as close to the mangroves as possible. If you get one to eat/explode on a fly when they’re under the mangroves, guess where they’re going? Let’s just say it’s a real gunfight from the get go. You’ll be doing everything you can to horse that fish out. And once they’re away from shore, they jump or if they’re big, they’ll shake their head out of the water, pissed off at the fact that you managed to fool them. Snook are simply phenomenal gamefish.
With cooling water temperatures this past month and plenty of bait around, the fishing in the backcountry for just about everything has been great. Redfishing is still solid with some very large fish around, (I’m starting to sound like a broken record when it comes to the reds) and you got the scoop on the snook. Plenty of smaller tarpon around if you know where to look. Almost forgot the jacks. There have been some big jacks around, fish in the ten pound range, just destroying the schools of mullet. Pound for pound the best fighting fish we have and unbelievable on light tackle. Bonefishing still remains hit or miss. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Until next time. -Pete