The temperature isn’t the
only thing heating up in May; snook action begins to boil in the last two
weeks of the spring snook season. The
time is now for both, large concentrations and size of linesiders. They
begin to gather around the passes as the summer spawn approaches and the
days between now and June 1st
(closing) is the best that it gets.
Spawning is most intense around the new and full moon periods when
tides are strongest; this also is prime time for anglers to find the fish.
If you’ve missed the new moon, you’re in luck as we’ve got
one last shot at high currents, a full moon, and lots of big fish on May
Look for the linsiders to pack
up in the high current areas, where their eggs will be suspended during
the fertilization period. It
is very common for mating snook to seek the protected areas just off the
larger passes. This time of year, where you find one snook you will probably
find a hundred, so once you hook that first fish, it’s just a matter of
working that spot repeatedly and getting the bite in full swing.
Finding the fish is a matter of working your way around the passes.
For you live baiters, conjure up some frisky pinfish, sardines or
jumbo shrimp. Drift with the tide and drop the baits straight down, with
enough weight just to get it down, occasionally bumping the bottom.
Keep drifting the same area and you’re sure to get the bite
going! For those
who persist on artificials, they tend to work best after dark.
Try a redhead jig with an iridescent swimmer tail, or a Reddish
Bronze, deep diving Mac. Bombers
work well too.
For the land “lubbers,” many of the largest fish are
caught from the shore or from piers.
The Sunshine Skyway is a very productive spot for monster size
snook every spring, with most caught by anglers using threadfins.
Give the south mini-bridge a try, then thank me for the inside tip!
Some other productive spot include the jetty at Blinds Pass, the
inside wall at John’s Pass, and Bunce's Pass Bridge on the north side
We’ve got the best of both worlds, from the above
to the following. Look to the
main pylons of the new Skyway just after sundown.
Drift an 8-12-inch ladyfish close to the rocks.
As for tackle around heavy structure, most snookers are using 80-
to 100-pound-test lines and 5/0 forged hooks.
I’m not one for this unfair tactic, so I prefer a 20 – 40 combo
and hope I can get em’ out to the open.
Anglers’ fishing for snook in the open water passes and along the
beaches will want to cut back on the “cable gear” and use light tackle
from 8-pound test spinning gear, 1/0 hooks and 30-pound shock
Leaders, to 15 pound
test with 30 mono leader.
Twenty-six inches or longer may
be kept, but no longer than 34 inches.
Bag limit of two. Season
ends JUNE 1, so thereafter take a picture—not a snook!
For more info on tactics, please check out some of my previous articles on
Keep Your Tip Up,