Summer is upon us!
Most people who call Florida home cringe at the onslaught of temperatures soaring into the 90s and the humidity high enough to give you the feeling you have purchased a mobile sauna, but not this fisherman.
My favorite game fish action heats up with the arrival of our sweltering summer conditions, the snook.
Snook have a classic look with their bold black lateral line that runs the length of their body separating their white belly from their greenish back.
I have caught snook from 6″ long to 20lb “hogs”. No matter the size, these fish are famous for a “thud” strike and explosive initial run. A snook run will make the line cut through the water like a razor blade and they are uncanny for finding the nearest structure to break you off if they don’t wear through your leader first with their sandpaper mouths.
Snook spend the summer months prowling the beaches, local jetties and area passes, ambushing a variety of live baits. My favorite bait by far is a frisky white bait. Many people know where the snook are, but the key to catching them is having the right bait. I guard my bait spots more than my fishing spots because the bait is the difference maker. Other good baits are pin fish, grunts, lady fish and even cut lady fish works well in the dead of the summer. A variety of soft and hard plastic lures also work well during the summer months.
Snook are known to be nocturnal feeders, but bite well during the day, especially around good moving tides. Probably the easiest way to get into snook fishing is to pick up a bag of soft plastic fish tail lures and walk the beaches at sunrise or sunset and fish the swash channels, a trigger time for snook bites.
You must be warned though, once you experience the drag screaming run of your first big snook, you may contract “snook fever”, a disease that can drive even the sanest fishermen to the brink of insanity in pursuit of his next trophy snook. Keeping bait alive in the garage, getting up at 3:30am, parking illegally, jumping fences and trespassing just to get to and from a favorite snook stomping ground are just a few symptoms of this contagious and as far as I know incurable disease.
Snook are strictly a catch and release species on the west coast of Florida, so be sure to handle these beautiful fish with care and spend time getting them revived after a long and hard fight.