Snook Season Officially Open

by
Allen Applegarth

Allen Applegarth
author1@gte.net


Allen Applegarth is the author of the recently published book, Florida Fishing. He lives and writes in St Pete, Florida
It’s that time of the year—the off season spots are now filled with anglers lusting for the big fillets. If you were catching and releasing on the off season and had a productive spot, you can bet it has been gobbled up by the incredible amount of snook fishers on the water this year.
Because of the warm water surrounding the Tampa Bay area, and other areas southward—snook are beginning to move North into the cooler waters— supervened by snook fishers. As a result, the potential hot zones are too crowed to fish.

Take some advice from the California Gold Rush of 1848. Where an influx of prospectors and merchants traveled to Sutter’s Mill—only few struck it rich while the others who traveled the distance were panning the leftover area’s or waiting for a spot in the "hot zone." At the same time, others who stayed close to home found their own private vein—some struck gold where others said there were none. "There are still an abundance of snook veins in the warmer water—just waiting for a prospector to claim his stake!"

Most of the larger bridges near open water are still holding monster snook as well as many other species—even some tarpon. The key to finding your own snook vein is to keep in mind what they like. Cool water this time of the year would be the first item on the list, however, swift moving currents will satisfy a number of the snook. With this in mind, the bigger snook will gather near open water passes such as Pass-A-Grille, John’s Pass, and the Skyway Bridge.

Fishing the passes can be quite rewarding if you present your bait properly, otherwise, you can spend hours upon hours wasting your time. Many of the passes produce a ripping tide that disorients bait caught in the current. Look for the snook to be on the calm side of a structure (bridge pilings, underwater structures, etc.). They will rest the calm side of the structure, conserving energy and waiting for passing bait. The snook usually position themselves in the line of fire, placing the tip of their snout at the current’s edge. They are likely to be where the most bait becomes trapped and falls easy prey.

Cast up tide and let your free-lined bait become sucked into the current. Do not guide your bait, the snook will be where the tide is strongest, thus, your bait will travel. If your night fishing the bridges, work the edge where the light meets the bridge shadow, as well as the structure method. The bait will gather in the light while the predators swim in the darkness, occasionally bursting into the schools of bait.

A SPOT TO MENTION

On the South corner of Blinds Pass at the opening, and down the entire wall—you’ll find a section about 10 feet wide where the tide comes in from the southwest and rounds the corner, leaving a section of calm water. My fishing partner (Aaron Grassman) and I pulled in a 12 and 17 pound snook by free-lining palm size pins. We cast in about 50 feet up tide into the open water—letting the tide control the bait. As it rounded the corner near the rock, well—you know the rest, happy fishing!

Keep Your Tip Up!

Allen Applegarth, Author Florida Fishing

Information on 'Florida Fishing' by Allen Applegarth

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