Juan Perez of Miami asks about dock fishing:

I fish at night for snook, ladyfish, jacks and some small tarpon under the lights on docks. I have two questions. What flies do you consider to be best for this kind of fishing? And, more importantly, how can I cut down on the number of lost flies?

Q I fish at night for snook, ladyfish, jacks and some small tarpon under the lights on docks. I have two questions. What flies do you consider to be best for this kind of fishing? And, more importantly, how can I cut down on the number of lost flies?

Since most of the fish under docks are small, you don't want to use large flies. I usually dress them on a size 1 or 2 hook. The lighted docks are hot fishing spots because they lure in baitfish - most of which are rarely longer than three inches. The best fly patterns are those that imitate these fish. Bucktail is still my favorite wing material. However, docks often have fly-catching traps, such as hanging wires and pieces of rope. Of course, your nighttime casts aren't as accurate as in the daytime and you can often get hooked on the dock. Most of the flies I throw around lighted docks are small bendbacks. These flies will let you fish with fewer hang-ups.