Sneaking in Some Snook

Guest Blogger: Jeremy Anderson is an amateur fly tyer and professional Creative Director at an advertising agency in Nashville, Tennessee. He lives with his wife and two boys in a log cabin by the Harpeth River. You can find Jeremy @hacklejob

My wife and I have one of those rare relationships—we make every effort to go on a date once a week, but we also give each other the freedom to go off and do the things we love…alone. With two all-consuming young boys at home, it’s what keeps us happy, healthy and sane. Yet even with a wife who supports my fly fishing addiction, it’s a hard stage in our family life for me to be away for more than a day trip, which precludes any saltwater getaways for this Tennessee boy…unless it’s over vacation.

The first time I brought my rod to the beach on a family vacation, I set a bad precedent. My wife had prepared an idyllic family picnic at sunset, but I stayed in the surf that little bit too long (we all know where “just one more cast…” leads), and now there’s a law emblazoned on the trunk of our family tree: “Absolutely NO fishing on family vacation unless approved in advance by Her Majesty.” And guess when those approved times are—when everyone else is asleep.

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Mack Attack!

Guest Blogger: Capt. Jim Klopfer, Sarasota Fishing Charters

Mack Attack!

Joe made a long cast, allowed the fly to sink for several seconds, and then began the retrieve. On the third strip, the line was yanked violently from his hand! Joe was shortly “on the reel” as the fish made a blistering run. After a tenacious battle, a four pound Spanish mackerel was brought alongside, hoisted for a quick photo, and then released to please another angler.

In some regards, Spanish mackerel are an under rated gamefish. In Florida, tarpon, redfish, bonefish, permit, and snook get a lot of press, but “Spanny-macks” are a terrific fish to target on fly! They are fast, aggressive, beautiful, abundant, and great eating for anglers who want to keep a fish for a meal.

Spanish mackerel range and habits

Spanish mackerel are a pelagic species that are found along the US coast from Texas, around Florida, and up to the mid Atlantic states. They can be caught in the inshore bays, along the beaches, in passes and inlets, and in the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Ideal water temperature in from the upper 60’s to mid 70’s.

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Robalo the Beachcomber

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

Beach combing is an activity that consists of an individual “combing” (or searching) the beach and the flat beach intertidal zone, looking for things of value, interest or utility. For Robalo, beachcombing is an annual event. Each year as the waters warm along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of South Florida in the late Spring, Robalo ventures out to the beaches looking for things of value. Robalo is part of a large clan of beachcombers that frequent summer beaches in both the tropical Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the Americas. The name Robalo, of Spanish origin (rὁbalo), was derived from Lobos or wolf. Indeed, the Robalo are wolves of the sea, of sorts. In the U.S., especially in South Florida, we know them as snook.

Snook are a worthy saltwater gamefish and their lifestyle gives the saltwater fly angler some challenging opportunities throughout the calendar year. Taxonomically there are some 12 species of snook in the genus Centropomus split evenly between the Pacific and Atlantic. Of those 12, only four species reach sizes exceeding 10 lbs. Along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Mexico and Central America, Robalo as they are known, are an important food fish. In South Florida, Centropomus undecimalis, or the Common Snook is king. Female common snook can routinely reach weights exceeding 30 lbs. Snook are aggressive carnivores feeding on crustaceans and baitfish making them ideal fly rod targets. In early July of 2018, I would take advantage of this aggression as well as Robalo’s propensity for summer beach combing along the beaches of the South Florida Gulf coast.

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