I like winter fishing in Colorado as much as the next guy, but the transition into winter in the high country can be a painful one. A transition I don't necessarily look forward to. Luckily for me, I timed my family vacation down to the Sarasota, Florida area to match up perfectly with the first wintery Front Range event of the second half of 2017. While this was a family vacation, I was lucky enough to sneak out to fish for a couple of hours here and there on the water. My friend, Kyle, a Sarasota resident has been fishing in the area for years. While Sarasota isn't necessarily a hotbed for fly fishing in Florida (drive 2 hours to the Glades and you can find that), Kyle's explored every nook and cranny of his home waters and has the area pretty well dialed on the fly.
I got into town on Saturday, Kyle asked if I could fish on Sunday. Kyle like most adults is a weekend warrior. Knowing that I might not have another chance to fish with Kyle before my time in Florida was up, I made time to fish with him. It was windy. Small craft advisory windy. We canoed back into some of the area's mangroves and small creeks and did our best to find snook and juvenile tarpon. With a cold front moving through, fishing was tough. I hooked a couple, but I had nothing but a couple of micro-snook to show for our efforts. I talked with Kyle about fishing some of the area beaches and that was that. I had a week of family time ahead of me and Kyle was resigned to the ole 9 to 5 for the rest of the week.
Monday came and Kyle hit me with a text, "Yo, if you wanna go try some dock lights in the canoe, I'm down." Who am I to say no to that? So, Wednesday we hit the water in the canoe just before dusk. On the search for some dock light snook.
The trusty canoe riding high into dusk. Kyle was generous enough to give me the front and let me take first shot all night.
The Sage Foundation 590 (9 foot - 5 weight) and the Sage SaltHD 890 (9 foot - 8 weight) were the fly rods of choice for this nocturnal snook mission.
As day turned into night on the creek, I'll readily admit, it's a bit eerie...especially when Kyle says that there's been a 12-foot gator hanging around here. He mentioned that after we'd been in the canoe for a bit.
Kyle's heart wanted to throw the gurgler, but his mind said to throw a tarpon toad. Here, he re-rigs.
A snook just killed something in cold blood right here. You could hear them popping a couple of docks away. The boils were fuel for some late night excitement.
See a boil. Throw you fly. Strip fast and hang on. We fished the five-weights almost exclusively. Fighting snook on five weights is a damn good time.
Kyle showing off one of the first dock light snook of the night. Good things were coming.
A closer look.
Another dock. Another boil. I cast beyond the light and tick-tick-ticked my streamer back in.
The Ross Evolution LTX, which will be released in April 2018, handled these saltwater predators with ease.
Snook on a five-weight put on a good aerial show.
My biggest of the night came early.
We saw a couple of huge snook throughout the night, but these average snook were quick to eat the fly. Real quick. Almost too quick.
Another one on the board.
Even managed to nail one from the canoe launch. It was hard to beat double-digit hard pulling snook all night long.
Kyle secures the canoe to the Tundra.
The Yeti kept the Yuengling cold and kept me upright for most of the night. Multiple uses.
Done by 11:30 PM. Kyle had to work the next morning at 6 AM...and I had to vacation.