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Snapper Creek Snook

Walking the bank of this canal as a kid produced some big snook

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A number of years ago, too many for me to ponder, we fished the banks of Snapper Creek where it entered Biscayne Bay south of Miami for snook. Mangroves and Australian pines lined the bank of what was actually a canal that was dug as part of a flood control project in the ‘50s.

We walked the north bank because the fill from digging the canal made a high and dry berm. The south bank was truly a mangrove swamp with small creeks and tidal inlets running off the edge of the canal.

In high school – I told you it was a number of years ago – I would leave school and head for the bridge on Old Cutler Road that crossed the canal. I always kept my spinning rod and a supply of white bucktails with me in my old four-door Plymouth. If I wasn’t heading for work on any afternoon, I was headed for Snapper Creek.

Lots of friends played sports in high school. Football, basketball, baseball, and track took up most of their afternoons. I tried, but was always too small, too short, or too slow to make the team. But I survived, somehow.

While they were practicing, my good friends Tony and George could be found walking and casting bucktails on Snapper Creek.

We began at the bridge and walked and fished our way to the rocky point. Then we walked back, fishing the best spots along the way. On an ideal day, we would be at the point, the mouth of the creek, on a high outgoing tide just as the sun was going down behind us.

We caught several species of fish up and down that canal. Snook were our primary target, but our catch included jack crevalle, mangrove snapper, spotted seatrout, redfish, Spanish mackerel, and an occasional tarpon.

That high outgoing tide late in the day produced the biggest snook. We caught and released – we always released these fish – a number of snook over twenty pounds, and several small tarpon. Off the point, mackerel chased bait in the winter, and seatrout were in the grass on the north side of the point. But, it was the mighty snook that we were really after.

I remember several days when we kept count of the number of fish we caught by simply walking and casting from the bridge to the point. Between three of us there were several days we caught over 100 jacks and over twenty snook.

Mosquitoes took their toll on us while we fished. I remember Tony, although he never smoked, would light two king sized filter cigarettes. Smoke tends to keep the bugs at bay. Rather than smoke them, he placed one in each ear, making a smoke screen around his head. He was quite a sight as he fished, but, strangely enough, it did work.

We camped on the creek, close to the end of the point on several occasion, bringing all the supplies necessary to fry fish. Usually we would wait for a cool winter night to camp. The cooler weather really knocked the bugs down and made for a great time.

I loaded Google Earth on my PC some time ago. What an amazing tool it is! I checked out all my fishing spots - creeks along the west coast of Florida, the North and South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas coastlines. And then I came upon Biscayne Bay.

My mind wandered as I zoomed in to look for all the nooks and crannies, the bridges and canals that took up most of the time of my youth. And then I came upon Snapper Creek - still there and undeveloped, it cuts across that green, unspoiled mangrove stand and into the bay. South of Matheson Hammock park and just north of Gables-by-the-Sea sits this magnificent canal.

I have not been in or around that canal for more years than I care to remember, but I can’t see why it would not still hold fish. I’m sure that it is posted – as is every other piece of property today. Walking the bank is probably not possible. But access by boat is very definitely an option.

If you are down that way and looking for an interesting, quiet fishing trip, you can easily find the creek. Use Google Earth and fly to ”Fairchild Tropical Garden”. As you zoom in, you will see the Snapper Creek canal cutting through the mangroves into Biscayne Bay. You will see the numerous small inlets along the south bank. You will see the berm along the north bank, and the rocky point. You can even see the channel as it moves into the bay.

A small skiff, a spinning rod, and some white bucktail jigs are all you need. Work every inlet on the south side and the several breaks in the berm on the north. And if you do venture there, let me know what you catch. And if Tony or George reads this – drop me a line!

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