Many anglers believe the best time to catch big snook is during the summer when the water temperature is warm. However, if you know where to look and what techniques to use, you can also reel in some nice catches during the fall.
Fishing for snook in the fall can be a blast, and there are several spots in St. Petersburg that you can try. The key is to find areas with good current and structures like docks, seawalls, or mangroves. Live bait, such as shrimp or pilchards, is always a good bet, but suspending twitch baits, soft plastics (paddle tails), and topwater lures can also work well.
If you’re lucky enough to land a big one, make sure to release it quickly so it can fight another day.
Snook Have This In common No Matter The Time Of Year
Snook are one of the most popular gamefish in Florida. They’re prized for their fighting ability and delicious flesh. But to catch a snook, you need to understand their behavior.
Snook are ambush predators.
They like places to hide and moving current. They generally sit behind a choke point in mangrove roots or in deeper channels at the bottom. In both of these cases, they are looking for an easy meal to swim by, following the current, and once spotted – the “ambush” occurs.
Work The Tides
The key to catching snook is to fish where they are likely to hide. Look for areas with lots of mangrove cover or deep channels adjacent to shallow flats. These places are where snook will lurk, waiting for an easy meal to swim by.
Once you have found a likely spot, fish those spots during a moving tide. An incoming tide seems to be more productive, but outgoing tides can provide the same opportunities.
When fishing an outgoing tide, be sure to pay attention to the direction of the current and cast your line accordingly.
What They Will Hit
Snook are opportunistic feeders, so they will strike at just about anything that looks like it might be food. Live bait, lures, and even flies can all be effective when fishing for snook.
Just be sure to keep your line tight and be ready to set the hook when you feel a strike. Snook are powerful fish and will put up a good fight when hooked.
After The Hook-Up
One of the most frustrating things as a fisherman is having a fish break your line. This is especially true when you are fighting a hard-fighting fish like a snook. Snook are often found around mangrove root systems and will quickly head back into these roots if given the chance.
This can quickly lead to your line getting tangled and eventually breaking. The key is to steer the fish away from the roots in the first few moments of the fight. If you can keep the fish out of the roots, you stand a much better chance of landing it.
Watch Your Leader
Even after you’ve managed to reel them in, you’re not out of the woods yet – quite literally. Snook have gill plates that act like razor blades, easily sawing through your leader.
This is why it’s so important to use a heavier leader than you might for other fish, like redfish. And regardless of whether or not you land the snook, you should inspect your leader after every strike.
It’s a common mistake for snook fishermen to make, and it usually results in losing the next fish they hook. I’ve even seen lures fly off the line during a cast because the leader was completely shredded – nothing left but a beat-up strand with no more strength than a single piece of human hair.
Don’t let this happen to you – be prepared with a strong leader, and don’t hesitate to re-tie or replace it if necessary.