We now have a full selection of Smith Optics sunglasses in stock. The new Smith Chromapop models have taken the angling world by storm. The Ignitor models are phenomenal in low-light conditions. All the Smiths feature polarization second to none and come with a lifetime guarantee.
Most years the peak months for this special kind of fishing -- sight fishing snook in clear, shallow water -- lasts through November. However, the peak months are early-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 good the past three years. We are catching some from backside shorelines but the best way to find these fish is to book one of our guides. There are many so-called "rat reds" around, under-slot fish that are still fun to catch.
A 29-inch redfish in spawning colors caught in October 2013 near Buck Key.
A bruiser red from October 2014.
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.
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 mid-May until the end of October.
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 this past year (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, favors his Dave's Silverback, a silver and white streamer (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. On rough-water days with little or no visibility our co-worker, Pete Squibb, has had very good luck with his Squibster fly, an all-marabou Schminnow adaptation that is fished almost like a nymph for trout fishing. The key is to fish it VERY CLOSE to shore and into the current.
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 guides 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.
Capt. Daniel Andrews 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, August 24, 1-3 p.m. The clinics are usually 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 -- the best I have ever known. 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.
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.
Especially in the fall, large tarpon can be fished from the shallow shoreline, mainly at the west end of Sanibel.
Peacock Bass: In recent years Norm fished for peacock and largemouth bass in Homestead, Florida, with one of our guides, fourth-generation Floridian Capt. 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, February 15, 1-3 p.m. We will have extra rods available for those who do not have their own.