Fly Fishing for Coastal Gamefish
Q. What tippet do you use when fishing for snook?
A. That really depends on what habitats I am fishing, water clarity, and the size of snook being targeted. Sight-fishing along the beach, for example, often calls for lighter tippet than I'd use along in mangrove shorelines because the water is so clear. On the beach, I often have to go down to 20 pound test, and even occasionally 15 pound test. I try not to use fluorocarbon because it never degrades, but sometimes on the beach it is necessary. When I am fishing along mangrove shorelines I usually use 30 or 40 pound test, and sometimes even 50 or 60 pound test if I think real bruisers are around. I use such heavy tippet for three reasons. First, to protect against abrasion from the snook's mouth and slices from gill plates. Second, heavier tippet reduces the chances of getting cut off by barnacles or oysters when snook head into the mangrove prop-roots for cover. And third, if at all possible I want to keep the snook from getting back into the mangrove prop-roots, and heavy tippet and leader give me a fighting chance. In fact, when casting mangrove shorelines for snook, I often go with a piece of 50 pound butt section to 30 pound tippet, or even with a straight piece of 40 or 50 pound leader to the fly. It's not fancy fishing, but it works.
The Fisherman's Coast approach focuses on how coastal gamefish interact with their habitats and prey. The more you know about the gamefish you pursue with a fly rod, the more often you'll be in the right place at the right time with the right fly making the right presentation. It's about catching more fish.
Our sister site Tribal Bonefish is all about conservation through responsible fishing. Tribal Bonefish shows you how to become a better steward of our coasts to protect our fisheries today, and ensure future generations get a chance to experience these fisheries.