Backcountry Low Tide Snook

Low tide is typical this time of year and always provide opportunity for a decent redfish and spotted sea trout bite. The fish have less water to hide. As snook don’t like it when the water drops below 70 and are extremely vulnerable if it dips below 60, I leave them alone.

However, this years moderate temperatures have led to some really good snook fishing on the low tides. I’ve been spending most of my time in and around the Myakka Cutoff between the Peace and Myakka Rivers working backcountry creek systems that include some muddy bottom.

Basically, the darker the bottom the better it absorbs the sun’s heat. It’s a good environment to find laid up snook, just hanging out. Some of the best spots I’ve found are also holding lots of mullet. Consequently, the mud bottom and mullet have limited my sight fishing opportunities. The mullet stir it up too much. So, I’ve just been working under the mullet with small 1/0 baitfish imitation flies. I’ve been tying a version of the Puglisi Backcountry Brown. I’m throwing a seven or eight-weight with a weight forward floating line and nine-foot salt water leader tapered down to 20-pound test. With a spinning rod, a floating twitch bait like the Sebile Stick Shad has worked well. Typically, I’ll throw a seven-foot medium power fast action rod rigged with 20-pound braid and a three-foot piece of 20-pound fluorocarbon leader. As it’s still winter, I’ve been making a concerted effort to keep the fish in the water in order to provide a safe release.

Good tides,
Captain Michael Manis is a U.S.G.C. Licensed captain and has been teaching the sport of fly and light tackle angling since 2002. He lives in Punta Gorda, Florida and can be reached at

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