Go Fish!ing Inshore


SNOOK, Centropomus undecimalis snook

If you used to fish for largemouth bass, this is the saltwater species for you. Most of your tackle, lures and techniques (well, maybe not the worms) should work just fine. The difference starts once you are connected to your first linesider. A 24 inch bass is almost a trophy, a 24 inch snook is barley a keeper. Short fast runs, sudden leaps and a determined effort to weave your line through any available cover make this a fight to remember. This tough guy also has the endurance to test both your equipment and your arm.

Florida Snook Art by Diane Rome PreblesLike most of the saltwater species selected for my list, the snook moves from near shore to inshore to downright freshwater during different times of the year. Generally, the colder the water temperatures, the farther inland they will be found. For the fisherman with limited access, this means that at least a couple of times a year the fish will come to him.

I have 2 favourite areas for fishing for snook. During the summer breeding period and fall mullet run I prefer to fish in the surf. I usually fish early in the morning starting just before first light. That is usually about 1 hour before the listed time for sunrise. The best fishing will be up until about 9:00 or 10:00 AM on an incoming tide. Most strikes take place right in the white water at the edge of the beach. I have had snook chase a lure with his back out of the water and a few where I thought they were after my toes. One of the greatest thrills is to actually see the snook chasing across the face of a wave. On the mornings when the fishing disappoints, the sunrise seldom does.

Florida Snook Art by Diane Rome PreblesMy second choice is in the spring at the Water Control Devices (WCD). WCDs are the dams/pumps where fresh water meets brackish. After spring rains these devices are opened, usually on an outgoing tide, to control the ground water level and prevent flooding. When opened, a veritable flood of baitfish flows out to the waiting predators. Fish located below these devices are there to feed and the combination of bottom debris and swift current guarantees a short but violent confrontation. Bass, jacks and tarpon are also likely to join the melee. (See South Florida Canals and Structures)

The next 20 snook fishermen will also have their own favourites and they will all probably be different from mine. The snook is the only saltwater species that I have found to be nearly as variable in his habits as the largemouth bass. Like the tarpon, and some would say like the largemouth, the snook bites best at night, mornings and evenings.

Check out our Expert Tips for Snook!

tarponsnookbarracudajack crevallelargemouth - black Florida bass

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Last modified on 02/11/98.