Sarasota Kayak, Steve Gibson

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Photo info: Jesse Ehrlich of Sarasota battles a snook on fly rod in the surf.

Snook fishing has been very good this summer. We’ve been walking local beaches and sight-fishing with fly rods for snook in the surf.

I’ve taken a number of people who had never caught a snook or had never experienced much success with snook along our beaches.

All succeeded.

John Weimer of Sarasota joined my for a beach snook outing early in the month. John is a member of the Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers in Sarasota. We landed three snook to 25 inches in tough conditions. Wind was up and so was the surf.

Another Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers’ member joined me a few days later. Steve Kost of Lakewood Ranch hooked 14 snook and landed nine to about 24 inches. All fish fell for my Gibby’s D.T. Variation, arguably the best fly for beach snook.

Incidentally, Steve had a hip replaced in April and is scheduled to have the other hip replaced this month.

Dault Roberts of Oklahoma caught four snook to 24 inches on a fairly tough day. We encountered plenty of fish, but they weren’t very aggressive.

I first started fishing with Dault when his was a first-year dental student at LECOM in Lakewood Ranch. He’s now Dr. Dault Roberts and practicing in Oklahoma.

Retired orthodontist Dr. Jesse Ehrlich tried his hand at beach snook and landed four snook to 23 inches. He had been fishing for snook in the surf at north Lido Key. He wanted to learn more beach snook techniques.

Larry Nazzaro and his son, Trevor, fished with me and each caught a pair of snook. They hooked five and landed four. Larry resides in The Villages near Ocala. Trevor is from Denver. Again, we saw lots of fish, but they were tough to fool.

The next day, I ventured out by myself and managed a pair of fish in rough conditions. However, one of my snook was a beautiful 28-incher.

I did a few other solo trips and did fair to very good. My catch totals ranged from two snook to nine.

I’ve found that the best action takes place around the new moon. The days surrounding the full moon can be slow.

Also, calm days when the water is clear are usually tougher than when we have a little wave action and choppy water. The snook seem to be more aggressive when conditions aren’t “perfect.”

For beach snook fly fishing, I recommend 6- to 8-weight fly rods with clear, intermediate sinktip line. I keep the leader simple and use a six-foot length of 20-pound fluorocarbon.

I will use some other flies — mostly while baitfish imitations — but I still catch a majority of my fish on the D.T. Variation.

For beach snook, you’ll need a quality pair of polarized sunglasses. Seeing the fish is paramount to success. If you can’t see them, you’ll probably have trouble catching them.

Other essentials include a cap or hat, sunscreen, flats boots (I go barefooted) and plenty of water. I recommend eating a banana the morning of your trip and drinking a couple of bottles of water before your trip begins.

Snook will remain in the surf throughout this month. They’ll start migrating back into the bays in September.

Sight-fishing for snook in the surf is one of my favorite things to do.

Early in the year, I set a goal of catching 100 snook on fly during 2016. To date, I’ve totaled 143 snook.

Not bad!

Once September arrives, I’ll begin targeting  our toughest fly-rod fish — redfish. My 2016 goal on reds is 10 — and I might not achieve that!.

I took a busman’s holiday of sorts late in the month with my buddy Capt. Rick Grassett of the Snook Fin-Addict out of C.B.’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key. We headed out on our annual fly-rod tarpon trip.

Over the years, we’ve rarely failed  — and this time was no different. We stuck four big tarpon, landed one and broke off another near the boat.

If you’re interested in fly fishing for giant tarpon, Capt. Rick Grassett is your guy. He specializes in shallow-water sight0-fishing for big tarpon from May to mid-August. You’ll probably have to book your trip a year ahead of time. I encourage you to do so. You can reach him at 941-350-9790.

AUGUST FORECAST: I expect snook fishing to continue in the surf along area beaches. There are plenty of fish out there and they’re cooperative most of the time. I haven’t been fishing the bay at all, but I will do so in the coming month. Spotted seatrout action is expected to be good over deep grass along the east and west sides of Sarasota Bay. You’ll also encounter jack crevalle and ladyfish. We’ll also get out a couple of hours before daylight to fish around lighted docks. Snook are the primary targets, but we often encounter small tarpon, spotted seatrout, jack crevalle and sometimes redfish. I also expect shark action to be in high gear in southern Tampa Bay. We target small blacktip, bonnethead and spinner sharks. It’s a blast in a kayak.

September often is a very good fishing month with little pressure.

If you’re interested in booking a trip for beach snook this month or a trip in September, call me at 941-284-3406.

 

 

Steve Gibson

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing

941-284-3406