Snapper? On the fly?

mrl0004mrl0004 Posts: 43 Greenhorn
I have been wanting to catch a red snapper on the fly for quite some time now. I’ve been bombarding people with questions like: “What kind of leader?”, “What weight rod should I use?”,”What charter should I use?”, etc. All this stems from my being consumed with achieving my goal. That’s just how I am. When I set out to do something, I am like a crazed maniac until I accomplish it. So, after weeks of reading, bugging people, borrowing the gear I would need, etc., the time had finally arrived. I set out to Pensacola last Saturday for 3 days. One day was basically just to set up camp, procure provisions, learn the lay of the land, etc. That night, I wanted to grill some seafood by the campfire. So we went to Joe Patti’s and endured the madness long enough to get what we wanted. Now it’s time to relax, enjoy some libations and plan for the next day.


I rented a kayak for use around the campground on the grass flats, and the weather and tides looked favorable for my time slot. Unfortunately, the fishing wasn’t stellar. Not even okay. I caught a single pinfish after casting a 9wt (from a seated position) in a kayak for 4 hours. Oh well, there’s always cold beer and nice scenery to enjoy.


We decided to give up surf fishing for the day because everywhere we wanted to go was pretty crowded. We went to a highly recommended place for lunch and wasn’t overly impressed, but we were hungry. After that we did as everyone else was doing and sat under an umbrella on the beach and drank beer.


Went back to the campground and took a much needed shower and headed out to another highly recommended seafood place for dinner. After dinner, we went back and made sure we had everything set for the trip the next morning. Woke up early the next morning and headed to the marina to meet our captain. While heading out, we ran into a pretty nasty storm (little did we know that was going to be the day’s norm), and beached the boat and took cover at Ft. Pickens. Once it passed, we stopped in the pass to catch bait because my buddy isn’t a fly fisherman.


I tied on this fly for my quarry, for no reason other than it had some weight to it relative to my other options.


Made it to our first stop and on my first cast I hooked up with this beauty:


I was totally unprepared for how hard these fish fight. I was using a 12wt, and I thought that fish was going to snap it in two. We had snapper and triggers swimming around, and after I caught several snapper, I tried to get one of the triggers to bite. I had to actually start snatching the fly away from snapper to give the triggers a chance. Unfortunately, they wanted nothing to do with the fly. So I caught a few more snapper and we decided to motor off to another spot.


At the next spot, I used my 9wt because we saw some undersized cobia. I had on a pink clouser and hooked one finally after multiple frustrating follows and rejections. He wasn’t big, but it was a cobia.


I caught a few remoras too, but didn't waste pics on them!

From that point on, the snapper and triggers weren’t really hitting the fly anymore. So I watched my buddy catch quite a few on gear and then we motored off to one last spot. We pulled up to where the captain thought there would be some king mackerel. I cast a fly and stripped as fast as I could for about 100 casts, while my buddy caught mackerel and bonita. I finally said to heck with the long rod and grabbed a spinning rod to catch a mackerel. On my first cast I hooked up and we added several mackerel to our snapper haul for the day.


We ran back in during a horrible storm. I had my eyes closed to keep the water out and could see the lightning flashes. I thought I would die out there. We got back safe and sound, other than drenching wet, and made the long drive back to Alabama. I can now mark snapper off the list, but there’s still dorado, pompano, jack crevalle, etc. to go!!!
On the water or in the woods.......


  • saltybumsaltybum Posts: 1,572 Captain
    Good job and photos. But I know that's not PBR in that glass next to the plate food.
  • ifitswimsifitswims Posts: 176 Deckhand
    must be all that clean livin. Great stuff.
  • mrl0004mrl0004 Posts: 43 Greenhorn
    saltybum wrote: »
    Good job and photos. But I know that's not PBR in that glass next to the plate food.

    You would be correct! It was some local Pensacola Brewery beer, but I have no clue what it was.
    On the water or in the woods.......
  • saltydancindavesaltydancindave Posts: 1,255 Officer
    What size are the hooks you used for the snapper & cobia flies, #3/0 ?
  • mrl0004mrl0004 Posts: 43 Greenhorn
    I believe they are 2/0
    On the water or in the woods.......
  • saltydancindavesaltydancindave Posts: 1,255 Officer
    mrl0004 wrote: »
    I believe they are 2/0

    Thanks for the info. Now have a starting point to convert that into reef fish circle hook size for Florida.
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