Friday, May 3, 2013

Snookered in Florida

This is the best time of the year for fishing in most parts of the country, especially Florida, which seems to always be a good place to fish. It's also the time of year that snook start patrolling the beaches in search of food. I was recently down there to spend some time with family and I was really looking forward to breaking out a fly rod in the surf and sight fishing for these aggressive fighters. I'd read many accounts of their powerful runs and the beating they can put on an 8 weight. Unfortunately, even though I fished for three days like it was my job, I just couldn't hook one of these fish. I did have a couple takes that were surprisingly delicate, but couldn't close the deal. It became maddening to see these huge fish swim by just within reach, one after another, and then completely ignore my fly. Or worse, they'd take off immediately when I got close enough to cast. They are as spooky as bonefish, from what I've read. I tried spotting them from a distance on their approach, running up ahead, and getting  my fly right into the zone that they were lazily swimming towards. This really got the heart rate up - but no takers. I suppose I should have picked a less challenging fish to hone in on, but I did spend a lot of time fishing on a gorgeous uncrowded beach- so I really can't complain one bit. And I saw some amazing creatures- a manatee, a huge cluster of rays, and a mammoth tarpon that broke the surface about twenty feet from me. The wildlife and scenery down there is just incredible.

One evening, I took a break from the fly rod frustration and did a little fishing with live shrimp. I  just had to feel something on the end of my line for a change. I caught a powerful little jack (not sure what type) that just made me wish I had battled it on a fly rod instead. I may have to save up and spring for a guide next time- not catching a snook on the fly made me more determined than ever to catch one. And clearly it's not easy for an amateur like me to get results. Maybe next time.