I woke up late, after a hard night of fishing, to a text from my buddy Jon that read “Let’s hit the beach to sight fish some snook.” I was slightly against the idea as I knew how picky beach snook could be and how annoying it was to fish in the afternoon on a popular beach. Never missing an opportunity for adventure, I reluctantly agreed. We met our buddy Evan at the parking lot and after tying on some 20 pound fluorocarbon leader and white schminnows, we all headed towards the beach. As we walked towards the water I began to inspect the surroundings. First I saw the bright white sand, mixing into the smooth, clear green water, the natural rock structures disappearing into the sea, and the all-too-common old guy rocking the banana hammock. The water was very flat and the wind was at a dull whistle. Armed with our polarized sunglasses, us fly fisherman had a great chance at spotting some nice fish.
As we walked the beach for the first few minutes, we saw a few small sheepshead eating sand fleas but we had yet to see a snook. Then we spotted a duo of male snook cruising our way. Jon made a cast but neither were interested. After spotting a couple more picky male snook, I decided to walk farther along the beach on my own. As I strolled along the beach, I casted at a few more little snook. Still no interest in the fly. I was beginning to get a bit disappointed until I saw a decent snook sitting still right in the water’s edge. He was so close that I could’ve stepped on him. I didn’t expect much but I decided to cast at him. A gust of wind blew straight at me as I began my cast and it hindered me from placing the fly in front of the fish. Instead, my fly plopped right on its back. Much to my surprise, the snook turned and propelled itself upward towards the fly, inhaling it in one quick motion. I strip-set as hard as I could and I was on! After a bit of drag pulling action, I landed the snook and quickly motioned Jon over to take some pictures. After a few snapshots, the ghostly snook was unhooked and released unharmed. Now I was pumped up and ready to catch more.
I let Jon walk ahead of me, for I had already landed a snook and wanted him to catch one. It wasn’t long before I saw Jon running down the beach, pointing his finger at something. “Do you see that?” asked Jon. I didn’t see anything. “That, right there!” Jon said as he pointed his rod towards the sea. That was when I saw it. A huge brownish-gray blob of fish swimming swiftly and exploding on baits. The school of fish was moving so fast that we had to fully sprint down the beach to catch up with it. Nearly out of breath, I made a cast right in front of the school, which was about 30 yards out. As soon as my fly touched the water, I felt a powerful hit. Setting the hook multiple times, I didn’t realize what I had just gotten myself into. My excess fly line flew out of my hands at lightning speed and in no-time I was into my backing. I looked over to my right, I saw Jon hooked up too, but he was having trouble clearing the fly line that was wrapped around him as the rocket ship that he had just hooked into was blasting off. Before Jon could untangle himself, the hook pulled on his fish. Soon, I snapped back to the reality that I was still hooked up. I was only running 20 pound leader so I had to keep my drag very low to prevent the fish from breaking off. After a grueling, heart-pumping 20 minutes of screaming drag, I began to see my fly line again. I still had no idea what I was hooked into, so I was extremely excited to land this fish. As the fish came closer, we realized that it was a huge Jack Crevalle. Pound for pound, one of the hardest fighting fish out there. Jon got hold of the fish’s tail and it was so powerful that it shook him back and forth, escaping his grip. Quickly, he lunged again for the fish and made sure it wasn’t getting away this time. Jon dragged the beast to shore and snapped some photos.
Never have I gotten so many congratulations for catching a fish in my life. Everyone at the beach was coming up to me and taking pictures. Days like these are why I chose to fly fish. I cannot imagine a greater paradise than sight casting a big fish on a fly rod.