Better Fishing at Smith Creek
As good as day one was, day two was even better. This time, Hanson and I met Swab at Smith Creek in Bulow Creek State Park near Flagler Beach. Smith Creek is really a maze of interconnected creeks and cuts that wind through unspoiled prairies of cord grass and needle rush bordered by oak and pine hammocks. Stretches of slow fishing were few and far between. I lost count of how many snook we caught. Tarpon weren’t as prevalent here but we did catch a couple of bonus slot redfish.
If you want to explore and fish pristine, old-Florida landscapes, you can’t go wrong by driving an hour north to Tomoka State Park and Bulow Creek State Park in the north end of Volusia County. Snook show up here around April and remain plentiful until the first strong cold front of Octobers sends them fleeing south. Because this is pretty far north for snook, they don’t get big. Fifteen to twenty inches is about average, and thirty inches is a really good fish.
Swab recommends light spinning tackle spooled with ten to fifteen pound test Cortland Master Braid with a couple feet of thirty pound fluorocarbon leader. His go to bait is a white Z-Man MinnowZ paddle tail mounted to a Z-Man Trout Eye jighead. Honestly, the fish don’t see a lot of pressure here so I think just about any small baitfish or shrimp imitation will get eaten if it is cast into the right spot.
One convenient thing about this fishery, according to Swab, is that it is not highly dependent on tides and is tolerant of foul weather. With miles of narrow, winding waterways, this is a great place to fish when strong winds blow out bigger, more open waters. Swab says the only thing that will blow out these creeks is prolonged periods of heavy rain that inundate the area with fresh water that pushes the snook out to the intracostal waterway.