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Snook Fishing in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Friday, 28 June 2013. Posted in Fish Info

Centropomus is the only genus in the order Perciformes of the family Centropomidae and it consists of all twelve species of Snook. Besides being exceptionally tasty, these fish are incredibly popular game fish. In Florida, many anglers focus exclusively on catching these big creatures. Found in subtropical and tropical waters throughout the world; Snook are primarily saltwater fish but they will travel quite far inshore as well. These fish are tough fighters and are challenging to hook and catch. Snook enthusiasts will regale you with tales about these magnificent fish and we strongly recommend experiencing the thrill firsthand.

Snook are an ancient species. Fossils have been dated as far back as the upper Cretaceous period which is as long as fifty five million years ago. They have a typical percoid shape and are distinguished by a lateral line that extends into the tail, two-part dorsal fins and a concave head shape. Their upper bodies are usually dark silver or brown and they have light bellies and yellowish fins. Enormous mouths are capable of swallowing small fish whole. They range in size from 14in to 47in and can weigh as much as 40lbs, if not more.

Usually found around structures such as docks, pilings, bridges, piers and floating debris; large Snook are known for roaming Florida’s beaches during the summer. They will also target baitfish such as bay anchovies on the nearby flats. On hot days, these fish will actively hunt but when it is colder they become sluggish and require less food. Their common diet consists of smaller fish such as mullets, pilchards, menhaden, anchovies, sardines and even shrimp.

Fishing for Snook in Florida is incredibly popular. Unfortunately, there are restrictions on catching them from 15th of December to 31st of January every year. This is because when it gets really cold during winter, these fish become amazingly lethargic. They literally list on their sides and can be picked up with bare hands. Their numbers have been severely decimated when this happens, wreaking havoc with their populations. In the height of summer, there are restrictions as well because anglers catch such large numbers of them. Here are some tips to help you catch Snook in Florida:

Tackle for Snook

Using the right tackle is critically important when catching Snook. They are famous for diving around structure and breaking you off. If fishing from the beach, you can use lighter tackle because there are no obstructions there. Size your hooks to the bait you are using so that they are not obvious to the fish. Use sturdier rods and reels with 17lbs monofilament test line if fishing in places where there are many obstructions. Wire leaders will also help prevent your line being snapped near the fish.

Bait for Snook

These fish will devour almost any bait they come across. We advise taking a variety of baits along with you. Live sardines, pilchards, mullets, grunts, ladyfish, pinfish, pigfish and shrimp work well. You can also cut fresh bait and try them all. Big Snook like big baits and they have big mouths to accommodate them.

Techniques for Snook

As if hooking a Snook were not difficult enough, actually getting them into the boat is an even bigger challenge. These fighters regularly snap line. These steps will help you to be a successful Snook angler in Florida:

  • When fishing for big Snook; heat, water temperature and boat traffic play important roles. At night time, there is less traffic and it is not as hot as during the day. The best time to catch these fish is early morning, late evening and during darkness.
  • Snook respond differently to the tides. In one area they may be biting during the outgoing tide but in another the tide may be coming in. Spend as much time on the water as you can to determine the feeding pattern of the Snook in a particular area. Then remember what you have learnt.
  • Snook regularly break free once hooked. The technique you use once you have the fish on your line is of paramount importance. Keep the line tight at all times. If the fish goes left, pull down right. If it is going right, pull down left. These fish are also jumpers and keeping downward pressure will stop them from landing on your line. If you pull straight up, you put too much pressure on both your leader and the Snook’s mouth; which leads to a sudden break off. Rather keep your rod at a low side angle.

Call today to book your Snook Fishing Charter in Florida and delight in their awesome strength.

About the Author

Capt. Noah

Capt. Noah

Noah is a United States Coast Guard licensed captain and PADI divemaster. He grew up in South Florida and has a passion for all things involving water. He is one of the rare bread of boaters who loves sailing and power boating. Noah sails competitvely and enjoys travelling, photography, and cooking. 


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