The Treasure Coast is home to probably the best snook fishing on the continent. While snook are available to anglers throughout the day, the best time to catch them with a fly is in low light or night conditions. Snook are nocturnal feeders for the most part, so we like to target these fish when they're hungry and can't be selective about what they choose to eat.
As the sun sets, the fish become attracted to areas that offer light…these being docks or bridges with lights on them. The lights also attract baitfish and shrimp, and the snook stack up under the lights to feed on this tidal smorgasbord. This is a very visual type of fishery, with snook cruising under the lights and popping off baits on the surface.
For fly fishermen, this is a very productive style of fishing, with small flies that represent minnows, shrimp or baitfish the best offerings. Lures also work very well under the lights, as does live bait.
Dock and bridge fishing takes place in the evenings and early mornings. Typically, we piggy-back these trips to chase tarpon at dawn or dusk in the summer months, and fish trout, redfish or pompano at dawn in the winter and early spring. Many times, we're on the water at 4:30 a.m., chasing snook until dawn and then moving on to another species.
Every summer, the same tarpon that migrate through the Florida Keys head north, traveling as far as the Carolina's. These tarpon travel in small schools of 10 to 100 fish or more. The schools push up the coastline, stopping at inlets and areas that hold bait to feed overnight. They may stay in these spots for several days, weeks, or even all summer.
These tarpon are extremely aggressive, and will eat a fly, lure or live bait. Early in the season, the fish average 40 to 60 pounds or more, and by mid-June, they are averaging close to 100 pounds. Some years, it's all big fish, and some years, it's mostly small fish. Every year is different.
This is a visual fishery, with schools or pods of tarpon finning and rolling on the surface or laid-up just below the surface. They typically are in anywhere from eight to 15 feet of gin clear water.
We like to piggy-back our tarpon trips with predawn snook fishing around the docks. In this case, the anglers have the opportunity to fish for snook under the lights, then chase tarpon during the first few hours of daylight, when the fish are most active and the winds are calm.
Starting in May, juvenile tarpon invade the St. Lucie and Indian Rivers. Schools of tarpon from 10- to 40-pounds tend to congregate in certain areas. Many times, tarpon over 100-pounds are encountered, mixed in with the juvenile fish. This is a very visual fishery, with tarpon rolling on all sides of the boat.
These juvenile tarpon are most active during the first three hours of daylight, although fish can be caught at all hours of the day. Some of our best trips have been in the middle of the afternoon on a hot summer day. Still, we like to get on them when the rivers are like glass, and it is easy to spot the fish.
These tarpon are eating a variety of baits, and are good prospects with fly, lure or live bait. Most of the time, we target them with lure or fly. Juvenile tarpon are often more acrobatic than the larger fish, so this is a fun way to introduce inexperienced anglers to the joy of hooking into a silver king!
Like the larger ocean-run fish, we like to piggy-back our charters with a predawn snook outing around the docks and bridges to give our clients the best opportunity to catch some of Florida's most sought after gamefish.
Since the net ban amendment was enacted back in July of 1995, we've seen a marked increase in big jack crevalle in our area. These fish average 20-pounds or more, and fish over 30-pounds are very common during the height of the jack run.
These jacks appear on the treasure Coast somewhere between Christmas and February, with the fish arriving early in years of warm weather. The jacks are on the surface in schools of 40 to 400 or more fish, finning and daisy-chaining. They are very aggressive, and can easily be tricked into eating a fly. We also catch these big fish on lures and live bait.
We've been targeting these big jacks for years and have developed several tricks for locating the schools and getting the fish to eat. Double hook-ups are common, even with fly. Because these fish are in the ocean, the opportunity to chase them is on a weather permitting basis.
Count on battles that last an hour or more for light tackle and fly, and 30-minutes or more on medium spin or plug gear. After the fish are landed and released, there are more fish to chase. In the winter, we may include this trip with a dawn patrol chase of snook on the seawalls or docks, or also fish Spanish mackerel and bluefish on the jetties and in the ocean as well.
Spotted Sea Trout, Redfish, Pompano, Ladyfish, and more…
The Indian River is home to some of the most pristine grass flats on the continent. The Treasure Coast is known for our giant spotted seatrout (most of the world records come from here), and outstanding snook. Redfish are abundant as well.
All three species are available year-round, but certain times of year do offer better shots at trophy fish of each species. On this trip, our guides are either drifting or poling the boat over the shallow grass beds, while the anglers cast to potholes, drop-offs and any fish they see. Many times, they get to spot, cast at, and hook, one of these gamefish.
During the winter months, windy conditions may dirty up the river, making sight casting impossible. The fish are still around, but under these conditions, the angler is relegated to blind casting. Fly and lure are preferred here, but live bait fishing is also very productive.
These trips usually start just before dawn, and may encompass a trip to fish the seawalls, bridges or docks before first light. Pompano, bluefish, jack crevalle and ladyfish are just a few of the other species you'll likely encounter. These gamefish tend to travel in schools, making them an excellent target for inexperienced anglers or first time fly fishermen.