Hi Mr. Mersinger,
That sure sounds like snook! Picky and difficult to catch. I will list some tips that have helped me fish docks.
- Do not stand on any of the docks that the snook are on or near. I would even stay off of the docks that are close to the main dock holding snook. If you can fish and approach them from a cement seawall or a boat, it will be much more stealth.
- Stay as far away as possible from the fish. Make long casts.
- Downsize your bait to glass minnow size baits. I like to use a bait about an inch in size. No bigger then a inch and a half. Rapala and Youzuri make a small glass minnow that works.
- Make sure your using at least a 6 foot FLUOROCARBON leader especially if you use braided line. Braided line is very visible to fish and very intrusive to their world.
- No clips, swivels, snaps or extra terminal tackle. Even use the smallest and most stealth knots you can.
- Fish two days before and after the new and full moon periods and try different tides to figure which one they feed on the most.
- Work your baits differently: Slow, medium, fast. Twitch, Twitch, Stop!!! Twitch, Twitch, Stop!! If that cadence does not work, switch to a different one. Twitch, Twitch, Twitch, Twitch, Twitch, Twitch, Stop!!! You get the picture. When you catch a snook working your bait, continue to use that same speed and cadence.
- Work the entire water column top to bottom with 3 different baits and 3 different colors until you find the one they're biting.
- Even try dead sticking a bait on the bottom. Try a piece of cut mullet.
- You can try to see what they are feeding on and match the hatch. Then do the complete opposite. Use the gaudiest bait in your tackle box to piss them off. Sometimes you trigger the bite because they are hungry and sometimes because they just want to kill anything in their personal space. They do both a lot!!!!!
- I find a fly presented to them is the ultimate presentation for night snook fishing at docks. It has a stealth approach, small appearance.
- Fish the outside and inside of the shadow line, don't throw your bait in the middle of them all the time. This can spook them. Even if you cast your bait a distance away, they know it is there, they can feel it through their lateral line.
- I work on all their senses: Sight, smell, sound, feel etc... Try baits that excel in each and in combination of each until you find the right combo.
When you have success catching them, make note of all the variables. Tide, time, weather conditions, water conditions etc. Then, when those conditions are comparable, you might discover their pattern and catch some more.
Go to our fishing forum before you go fishing and ask this same question, you'll get tons of answers from very knowledgeable fishermen. You will learn a little something from everyone's different techniques.
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