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St. Pete Docks Fishing 1/22

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A guy I met some time ago from Facebook invited me to fish docks he's been catching slob snook from--of course I say yes! Love the generosity of the fishing community I've encountered thus far (people from here, Facebook, and another forum). Definitely something I didn't get in California. 

 

I've fished these docks before, but never really caught anything. Turns out this area is only productive during low light hours because of the clear water and dense traffic it gets during the day, all which contribute to easily spooked snook.

 

We launch at 6am and my buddy immediately catches 2 snook.  Neither I nor the other guys he invited have yet to catching anything. 15 minutes later, I hear him calling my name and see him peddling right through a dock--it was a good thing the tide was low! lol. After a good fight, he pulls up a fat slot snook.

 

Everyone else is still fishless...unfortunately, my to-go electric chicken paddle tail was failing me. A little discouraged, I peddle over to his kayak to look at his lure: a PaddlerZ! Lucky for me, I purchased some a couple weeks ago.  As soon as I switch over, I start slayin' the snook.

 

I must've caught over half a dozen within a 1 hour time frame, losing just as many or more.  My biggest snook of the day, a REAL NICE drag ripper, jumped and threw my lure as I stopped reeling to turn on my GoPro  :angry: .  This is the 4th consecutive time I've lost a big snook due to the hook getting pulled, spat at me, or mechanical problems w/ my reel....all within the last couple of weeks. Please tell me this is normal! lol. 

 

Anywho, it's about 8:30 and the snook bite starts slowing. At this point, we've caught well over a dozen snook and lost many more.  Looking behind us, we see tarpon rolling and busting bait.  Taking advantage of my Revo, I rapidly peddled to the channel I saw them rolling in.  By the time I get there, however, they disappear into the deep channel.  <_<

 

We end the day by heading over to some mangroves. Tons of lady fish and monstrous snook that came unbuttoned several times. My buddy also had a nice fish that ran for a good couple minutes.  It ended up breaking him off--I suggested he gets some prozac for the depression that'll ensue lol.

 

Nothing monstrous on my part, but a good day nonetheless. Hope you enjoy the pics! I love winter in Florida!

 

 

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Nice detail in your report. Good job.  Looks like a fun day.  

 

RE:

"This is the 4th consecutive time I've lost a big snook due to the hook getting pulled, spat at me, or mechanical problems w/ my reel....all within the last couple of weeks. Please tell me this is normal! lol."

 

Unfortunately - it is pretty common.  Don't feel bad. (well its hard not to).  I've caught some decent underslots lately - but have only hooked 2 good snook in the last 2 weeks - and lost them both.  Big thrashing headshake at the surface and shaking the jig head loose in both instances.  Sucks and always makes you think - man what could I have done differently to get that fish in?    The only advice I can really give from my experiences is to try and keep pressure on the line at all times.

 

 Other than bulldogging you to structure which you sometimes just can't do anything about if its a big fish - the crucial moment seems to often be when they come to the surface and try to get airborne and/or do the big headshake above the surface of the water.  If the fish can get some slack in the line while doing so - they are good at shaking the hook loose as well as slicing at your leader with their sharp gill plates.  Even if the fish can't shake the hook lose - if they get enough shots at slicing your leader - they will compromise it  and break it with their strength (sometimes heartbreakingly with a last run just as you get her next to the boat).

 

So beyond doing your best to keep them away from structure - keeping even pressure - especially when they try to make their surface move - is an important aspect of getting a big snook in.  

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Though obviously an exaggeration, I compare hooking a snook to starting a fight.  You never know how it is going to end.  The bigs ones will usually leave you wondering what just happened, sitting there with an empty hook or broken line and your heart in your mouth.  I find that they are very unpredictable.  They have such speed and strength once they reach the mid to upper 20's.  Couple that with a hard mouth, sharp gill plates and a propensity to run hard and fast into structure, those acrobatic jumps and head shakes, and I expect that I'll usually be on the losing end of the fight.  That's what makes them so fun to catch, and probably why so many say that they are the number one reason that people come to the Florida coast to fish.

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