Capt. Sergio’s Corner By: Capt. Sergio Atanes

The old myth that snook shut down during cold weather holds true when the water temperature drops down below 65 degrees.  Capt. George, a good friend and part of the Fishing Adventures Florida TV show, has a technique on how to catch them during the cold months. Capt. George invited me along to go after some big Winter snook using his technique, and

before he could finish his invitation, I asked him when and where. We set a time and place agreeing not to show any of his favorite fishing spots.

Wednesday morning arrived and the winds were blowing from the northwest with temperatures in the mid 60’s and dropping, as the cold front approached.  Capt. George explained that his technique works best with a falling tide and the water temperature no lower than 60 degrees.

His method is to troll channels using one of favorite snook lure MirrOlure M30MR-18, medium runner. We picked a black back and gold sided one, tied to 30-pound test leader about 36 inches long using a 7-foot medium action spinning rod and reel combination.

A short trip from the boat ramp and we were ready to fish. As we entered the first channel, we cast the lures about 25 feet behind the boat and held the rod outward and down as if they were outriggers.  The secret is to keep the tip of the rods down and away from the boat and watch the tips of the rods for movement from the lure. Lures have a wobbly movement and, in some cases, the lure can pick up some bottom trash and will stop the wobbling or come to the surface.

By trolling slowly through the edge of the channel, the chance of catching snook will increase for two reasons. The bottom of the channel is muddy and hold water temperature higher than surrounding waters, causing the snook to move into deeper water. Also, as the tide drops, they are forced away from the shallows and rocks and down toward the edge of the channels.

After a few minutes of trolling, our first hit was a small 8- pound snook and, as we made our turn into the other side of the channel, I had a hard tug. For a minute, I thought I had struck rock, but the rock moved. I then realized this was a very large snook. Capt. George popped the motor out of gear and suggested I put a little more pull into catching this large snook or, take the chance of losing him as he made a dash for the nearest rock or dock. Shortly afterward, I had him at the side of the boat, ready to give up the fight.

We were back at the dock by midday not only with the largest snook weighing in at 12 pounds. That day, Capt. George made me a believer in trolling for snook.

Where to troll:

1.     Residential channels that are at least five feet deep at low tide.

2.     Main channels leading to marinas.

3.     The channels that run along the docks are best if they are away from boat traffic.

4.     Edges of Little Manatee River.

5.     Channel leading into Bishop Harbor.

When: I find this method works best ahead of a cold front or anytime the water temperature holds below 68 degrees.  Like I said falling tide is best a falling tide or midway through an incoming tide.

Where: Residential channels.

What to look for:

·        Clean water.

·        Water depth of at least eight feet.

·        Structurer. This means from rocky bottoms to concrete blocks left from old construction.

Tackle suggested for best results:

·        7-foot medium action rod.

·        Medium size spinning reel.

·        30-pound test braided line.

·        30-pound test fluorocarbon leader.

·        Silver and black diving lure.

·        MirrOlure model M30MR-18.

Please feel free to contact me for further information. I love to educate other anglers and want to learn from them.

Captain Sergio