If you like to target snook on the flats the time has come! Big numbers of snook can be and have been seen on certain tides in Everglades National Park feeding on mullet. This has been a great time to catch these fish on top water lures such as the Rapala Skitter Walk, be taken on fly and the Spike-it Holographic lures.
This week Eric Naugle caught his second snook on fly a nice 8 lb on the flats and lost one on fly that went 15lbs on 8 weight gear using hand tied flies. Shane Day of Galveston, Texas got his first a 12lber on a beautiful top water hit that took the fish 3 strikes to actually get a hook set, and lost a screamer that went 15 lbs and had shots at countless more. If you want to do this kind of fishing be prepared to fish early. In the mix are a lot of nice sized redfish, which you’ll in singles and some schools tearing up the flats.
When using the Spike-it Holographic lures I prefer using the gold or the clear blue. Putting a little weight in front and dragging it through the grass and mud is being very effective for snook, reds and big trout. I have been finding the reds all day long in skinny murky water.
Tarpon fishing has been good around the bridges in the middle keys using live crabs free lined back to schools of fish between from 60 to 120lbs and are best caught in the early mornings and late afternoons.
Biscayne Bay tarpon are pushing strong and are a great way to catch them is on fly using 12 weight gear for fish that average 100 lbs. The flies I prefer are brown flies in the morning with low sun angle and yellow with a little higher water and better sun. Low water is important and finding where the schools are moving, getting in the right position, a perfect cast and to watch a bucket mouth roll and gulp a fly is an incredible experience and landing him is up to you! Remember bow to the KING!
There is also the Biscayne bonefish that are in large schools now. Calm mornings are making it easy to spot these guys pushing wakes and tailing. Since shrimp are small in the summer I prefer to throw small crabs on # 1 hooks with 4ft of 12lb fluorocarbon leader, Steve Schindler from Salt Lake City came in using some kind of crazy Zebco looking thing to catch his first bone of 10lbs, good job Steve and great fishing!
In a little deeper water are the tailing permit. Finding the slick water that’s coming in is a key. We have been fishing schools of 30 to 50 fish with their backs out of the water. Average size is 20lbs but there are larger fish up to 30, a live silver dollar crabs on a # 1 hook with 3ft of 25# fluorocarbon leader is the way to go! On one recent trip we boated 1 permit out of 4 schools and a double out of the last school.
The weather is now perfect and the fish are biting. It’s right now prime time flats and backcountry fishing. The fishing is so good any type of bait from fly, to live, to jerk to top water, they are hungry!
Capt. Jim Hale