Well folks I could not resist. It’s back to snook fishing. Why? Because it's that magical time of the year when BIG snook are cruising the beaches and passes! If you put your time in on the water this month, a 40 incher should be an achievable goal. There have been so many big snook showing up that its almost impossible not to run into one sooner or later if you're fishing in these areas. We're getting double and triple hook ups some days.
Quite a feat on light tackle. It’s been that way on most of my fishing trips, a large snook is at least hooked. I say hooked because hooking a big snook and getting him to the boat are two different things. What does it take to hook and bring a big snook to the boat? Here are a few answers. I call them "The 6 rights".
Here's a photo of one of our triple hook up days!
The "Six Rights" of Snook Fishing
The right time: The right time for snook this time of the year is early in the morning, late evening or just plain old nighttime. Heat, water temperature and boat traffic all come into play when fishing for big snook.
The right tide: Most snook anglers will say that the outgoing tide is the best. That might be true in a place that they fish, but each area will have a different tide that the snook-bite will be better. This is when as much time as possible on the water will help your chances. I always say when you get into a good bite, remember the tide and place you were at. This can help you "pattern" the fish for your next trip.
The right place: You have to be where the snook are. They have tails and will move. I tell anglers all the time, when you're at your home and hungry, where do you go to get something to eat? Simple, in your kitchen. You would not be in your bathroom looking for food. Fish are the same way. Find the snook kitchen. The exception to that would be during the spawn, when snook are just not there to eat. Think "structure and current" when looking for the snook kitchen.
The right bait: Everything is the right bait. Take as many different baits as you can. I'm talking live baits. Scaled sardines, grunts, pigfish, pinfish, ladyfish etc… The more bait you have, the better off you are. Keep trying different baits. The one thing consistent is that big snook like big baits. Use them all to find out which is best. Pigfish and grunts are excellent big snook baits during the spawn, and one of my favorites.
The right tackle: Choosing the right tackle is very important. You can find the fish, get them to eat, to then have them break you off every time. I once watched a man hook about 5 very large snook in a row. It was right around a residential dock. He got broke off each time. He yelled over to me that my tackle was too heavy to even get a bite. I only hooked 1 snook, but I actually got it boatside (unlike him) and was able to get some nice photos. His 5 were just afterthoughts. So use tackle that fits the area you're fishing in. If you're on the beach with no obstructions, you can get away with lighter tackle. I find most anglers are in the right ballpark when it comes to rods and reels. Where I find the mistake is in terminal tackle, hooks, leader etc. The most common mistake is hook size. Many anglers are using hooks that drown the bait. Hook size should be choosen by the size of your bait. Don't use a huge hook with a shrimp or whitebait. Use a #1 or 1/0.
The right angler: Many anglers on my boat that have hooked into a big snook have gotten broke off. Sure it’s common. It’s tough enough to find and hook into a big snook. So using the right technique when fighting a large snook helps. The old "down and dirty" is a great way to fight a snook. If he runs left, you pull down right, if he runs right you pull down left. The downward pressure will also keep him from jumping too much and landing on your line. Pulling straight up puts a lot more pressure on the snook’s upper mouth and a lot more pressure on your leader. The low side angle keeps less pressure on your leader, so the snook’s mouth does not rub as hard on the leader. It works, try it!