| Snook are one of the most popular gamefish
in Florida. Legions of anglers of every type and
skill level pursue them from as far north as
Daytona on the east coast around the peninsula
and up to points north of Tampa on the west
coast. Shorebound anglers fish them from piers,
bridges, jetties and beaches. Some folks wade
the Intracoastal Waterway, targeting snook
instead of seatrout or redfish. Boating anglers
ply the inlets and passes, deep channels and
basins, flats and mangrove shorelines, rivers and
creeks, and nearshore ledges and holes in the
ocean and Gulf. They are a fabulous gamefish,
no matter what size you find and their excellence
on the table only adds to the desire to catch a
slot limit fish. Most of the fish we catch on the
west coast range from 18-34 inches, but there
are much larger fish around if one knows where
to look and how to coax them into eating. Snook
reach a length over 4 feet long and up to 50 or
more pounds, though a fish of such size is almost
unheard of in Florida. I do personally know of
several fish in the 40-50 lb class, boated and
weighed, one by my father.
Their appearance is distinctively unique with a
certain elegance in the sleek shape and black
stripe. Finicky tastes and a wary disposition
make them a challenging quarry. Once hooked,
their fighting prowess and multiple ways of
shedding your effort usually keep the fight in
doubt until they are in hand. There are times
when they feed with abandon and these trips
leave one with the impression that they are easy
fish to catch, but a return trip to the same spot
even one hour later can yield nothing but visible
fish abjectly refusing to even acknowledge a
lure, or even live bait, right in front of their
Snook can be caught in a variety of ways, most
of which I practice at some point or another. I
prefer flies or artificial lures, but I'll employ live
bait just as frequently when it's best suited. I will
match the technique to your preferences and
skills, though if you wish to pursue only trophy
size fish, the location of the fish and conditions
will ultimately determine the way I choose to fish
for them during your trip.
My personal preferred methods are fishing at
night in any number of feeding stations I visit and
sightfishing them during the day with fly or lure.
However, I like to snook fish anyway that
produces strikes, so while those are my
preferences, ultimately, my favorite method is
the one that works at the time!
Depending on where and how we are fishing,
conventional tackle will range from 8-10 lb class
and 10-15 lb class spinning gear, to 12-15 lb
class plug casting tackle, on up to 20-40 lb class
live bait gear. Fly tackle selections are generally
7-9 weight rigs, though in a few spots, I use 10 or
11 weight outfits due to size of fish and
proximity to structure. If you wish to use your
own outfit, I’ll be happy to discuss the kind of
trip you wish to go on and advise you accordingly
on which of your rods to bring.
|A healthy 27.5" sprinter about to
head back to the mangroves.
|This little 19" fish chased a fly out of the mangroves
halfway back to the boat before smacking it.
Sometimes they're little . . .
|. . . and, sometimes, they're just
plain big! A 44" brute of a female
moments before release.
|A beautiful 32" powerhouse
returns to her seat at the bar.