Brian Sienkowski from Bozeman, MT, with a 37-inch snook, late May 2011.
Dave Beall from Cape Coral with a large beach snook, July 2011.
Connor McNaught, 18, from Berthoud, Colorado, mid-June 2011.
We now have the new Sage Method Rod in the 8-wt., 4-pc. version. We will be adding more models later this fall. The 8-wt. Method lists for $810.
October 19, 2013: Water quality has dramatically improved and we now have very good sight fishing for snook along the beaches again. Some of the best spots are Bowman's Beach, Lighthouse Beach, Gulfside City Park, Turner Beach and the accesses along West Gulf Drive. Snook are also in the passes and back country in good numbers.
The most fast and furious snook fishing this summer was in May and early June. The most consistent snook fishing this summer and fall has been night fishing under the dock lights. The Norm's Crystal Schminnow fly is Number 1 for this challenging, heart-thumping sight fishing around the docks. You can book one of our top guides to find them for you.
Most years this special kind of fishing -- sight fishing snook in clear, shallow water -- lasts through November. However, the peak months are mid-June through mid-October. Some years we have had sight fishing up until Christmas along the Gulf shoreline. The back side of the island has sight fishing year round in some areas.
The redfish numbers in Pine Island Sound have been and still are phenomenal. The spawning schools have been huge and ravenous to eat. The best way to find these fish is to book one of our guides.
A 29-inch redfish in spawning colors caught in October 2013 near Buck Key.
We have the award-winning Sage One rods! These rods won top honors at both the American and European tackle dealers' meetings. The Sage One is a phenomenal casting and fish fighting instrument. It is super light yet powerful and designed for pinpoint accuracy. An 8-wt. Sage One feels like a 6-wt. of many other brands. This will dramatically increase your casting distance and the pleasure of casting. The Sage One is also a powerful fish-fighting tool. We have Sage Ones in stock from the 5-Wt. trout version to the 12-Wt. Tarpon model.
Michigander Pete Squib with a 37-inch snook landed in late May 2013. Pete has since landed many more large snook this year.
Redfish are available in large numbers, occasionally from shore but more often in Pine Island Sound and lower Charlotte Harbor from our guide boats. They are still available in large numbers on grass flats, around docks and oyster bars, and in some of the deeper channels. Blind Pass has consistently been an excellent spot for reds
Sight fishing for snook along our pristine beaches is one of the world's most exciting fly fishing adventures and every fly fisher owes it to himself/herself to experience the heart-thumping, run-and-gun thrill of pursuing these magnificent, world-class game fish in clear, shallow water.
Now is the time to plan your trip. The peak time for beach snook fishing is usually from about May 15 until the end of November. However, warm water started the season a couple of weeks early this year.
Remember, though, that it is always possible to get windy weather that churns up the Gulf and makes sight fishing difficult. Patience is the key.
Photo by Rick Kustich
A 40-inch snook caught by Norm in June 2010.
The hot spots for snook in 2012 (and nearly every year) were just west of Lighthouse Beach, Tarpon Bay Road Beach, Gulfside City Park (Algiers Lane beach), the beaches along West Gulf Drive, Blind Pass, and Bowman's Beach. In the warm months there are snook along all 12 miles of Sanibel's shoreline.
The best flies are the usuals and a couple of newcomers: Norm's Crystal Schminnows, White Deceivers, Chartreuse and White Deceivers, Coile Deceivers, Chernobyl Schminnows, Soluble Minnows, Dave's Silverbacks, and Gibby's DT's. One of our customers, Dave Beall of Cape Coral, caught several snook last year in the mid-30-inch range with his Dave's Silverback (we now sell them). Crease Fly poppers also work early and late and anytime the snook are crashing bait. Joe Mahler's Strawboss has also proved effective, as has Doug Greene's Puglisi Fiber and Supreme Hair Clouser in chartreuse and white.
Paul Prentiss from Boulder Colorado with a big snook caught along the beach in June 2013.
As reported above, during the warm months, in addition to snook, there are often many Spanish mackerel and large seatrout in close pursuing the baitfish.
The best seatrout fishing in the warmer months is usually early in the morning -- from first light to about 9:30 a.m. -- and evenings from one hour before sunset until dark. There are sometimes also large jack crevalles along the Gulf shorelines.
Jim Harvat with a large jack landed at Gulfside City Park in 2011 in front of an audience.
We are happy to get you up to speed about the right flies, leaders and bite tippets to use, and also tell you or teach you the techniques to use to catch the snook. And it goes without saying that we will send you to the right places.
Night Fishing -- Night fishing with our guide Captain Daniel Andrews can be very productive. It is an especially good option if adverse winds affect the shoreline snook fishing. The night action under dock lights can be fast and furious. Norm's Crystal Schminnows have proved to be by far the best night flies. In the summer Daniel and Norm one night boated 24 snook in just over two hours.
Daniel and Norm with night-caught snook
Casting Clinics -- We conduct free casting clinics once a month (usually the third Sunday). Our next free clinic will take place on Sunday, June 16, 1-3 p.m. The clinics are conducted by Federation of Fly Fishers certified casting instructor and Florida casting champion Joe Mahler from Fort Myers, Florida. Please check with us for other free clinic dates.
Joe is also available for private lessons at $75 per hour (with a two-hour minimum). He is a tournament quality caster and an exceptional instructor. He can be reached through our shop -- 239-472-6868 and at home at 239-482-0325.
Fred Doddy from Maryland with a beautiful snook caught at Tarpon Bay Beach in mid June 2011.
Come Back to the Tradition: We have in stock an example of Sweetgrass Rods' new saltwater bamboo series. These stunningly beautiful rods hark back to the golden era of Ted Williams, Joe Brooks and other pioneers of saltwater fly fishing with bamboo.
Though heavier and slower than graphite, these top-quality bamboo rods are powerful casting and fish-fighting tools. Because of their long heritage and their origins as living, natural materials, they hold a certain magic and nostalgia for many fly fishers. The Sweetgrass craftsmen put their hearts and souls into their creations from the earliest stages -- even traveling to China to select the best bamboo.
All Sweetgrass saltwater rods feature top-notch saltwater components -- guides and reel seats -- as well as the newest and most durable glues and clear resin coatings that stand up under even the harshest tropical conditions.
Interested anglers are welcome to come cast these fly angler's dreams and exquisite works of art.
Sales and Special Events -- Throughout the year we will host free special events, including book signings, appearances by noted fly fishers, and discount/sale periods on various products.
We have a good stock of Randy Wayne White and Carlene Brennen's work: Randy Wayne White's Ultimate Tarpon Book. This book is an anthology of many authors, as well as a history of tarpon fishing from its earliest days. One of the chapters was written by Norm and originally appeared in the New York Times.
In 2014 we will feature Jerry Kustich, noted fly fishing author and co-president of the Sweetgrass Bamboo Rod Company, which produces some of the top bamboo rods in the world. Jerry will conduct a fly fishing presentation and introduce Sweetgrass' line of saltwater bamboo rods, which hark back to the golden era of Ted Williams, Joe Brooks and other pioneers of saltwater fly fishing with bamboo.
Especially in the fall, large tarpon can be fished from the shallow shoreline, mainly at the west end of Sanibel.
Peacock Bass: Last year Norm fished for peacock and largemouth bass in Homestead, Florida, with one of our guides, fourth-generation Floridian Josh Greer. They caught many fish in canals on the edge of the Everglades. This is wonderful fly fishing in wild country. The contrast of the wild, wide-open Everglades with the urban lifestyle of Homestead -- only 10 miles away -- is striking.
These peacocks live up to their reputations of being very tough, hard-fighting quarry. They smash flies like they were mortal enemies.
A peacock bass from near Homestead.
Norm and Josh never saw another boat in a whole day of fishing. Josh is a terrific, hard-working guide who grew up in Homestead and knows its secrets intimately. If you would like to book a peacock bass trip with him contact our shop.
A 23-inch largemouth caught near Homestead by Capt. Josh Greer.
We will hold a free group casting clinic at the shop Sunday, February23, 1-3 p.m. We will have extra rods available for those who do not have their own.
There are currently some seatrout in Pine Island Sound that are the biggest in years. Our guides can help you find some of these outsize beauties.