Fly Fishing for Snook in Islamorada

When hunting is not an option, go fishing!

The newfound popularity of hunting is amazing. It also creates obstacles for all hunters. The license draws in all states are now super competitive. In some ways, this is a good thing, and in others, it’s really, really not.

But that’s a debate for another time. Let’s get back to fishing. I had the opportunity to spend my birthday in the Florida Keys. I traveled back to Islamorada for some fishing and R and R.

There are two types of fishing opportunities in the Keys: inshore and offshore. Our first trip was into Everglades National Park. It’s about an hour run from the world-famous Bud N’ Mary’s Marina. We were fishing with inshore legend Capt. Bill Bassett of Real Deal Charters. Capt. Bill has been fishing the Keys his whole life.

We arrived around 7:00 a.m., and by 7:15, we were making our run north. If you have never been to the Everglades, go! It a 1.5 million acre wetlands preserve. It’s a beautiful place. The wildlife is incredible.

This place, though, is as dangerous as it is beautiful. My favorite has always been the American crocodile. He is an impressive reptile. Living in the Low Country of South Carolina, we are accustomed to seeing alligators. I can tell you one thing, the I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude of the croc proves he is a different animal.

We had a great day of fishing. We caught snook, grouper, and baby tarpon.

About an hour before we were leaving, Capt. Bill asked if I would like to try for a snook on the fly. My response was an immediate “Yessir!” After a half hour of casting a pink Clouser……boom, the fight was on! My first snook on the fly.

It was a pleasure fishing with Capt. Bill. He really worked hard to keep us on big numbers of fish.

The next day, we went offshore with Contagious Fishing in Islamorada. Earlier this year, we went down with Capt. Brian Cone for mini lobster season. Capt. Brian was in Montana elk hunting, so Capt. Sean O’Donnell was running the boat.

The offshore fishing was in a transition phase. The dolphin were pretty scarce, and the billfish hadn’t quite shown up yet. We planned on trying to put some great eating fish in the freezer. We trolled for wahoo on the way out to some of Capt. Sean’s bottom fishing locations. We were unsuccessful on wahoo, but we did good on the bottom fish! My wife also caught a nice blackfin tuna that made some great sashimi.

I am looking forward to getting in the field soon, and I have enjoyed seeing my friends’ and clients’ posts on social media this year. Some of you have had an outstanding fall, and I couldn’t be more happy for you.

Happy Hunting, and Happy Thanksgiving!