Hernando County By: Capt. Gary Strickland

September marks the opening of snook season in the Nature Coast area. Snook are the kings of the creeks and if you ever get the chance to hook into one over 30 inches, you will know what I mean. They jump and break water, they take good runs and make drags scream. Plus, they have very violent head shakes. The fight is awesome! Big snook will certainly test your tackle, so be mindful of your leader size and tying a good knot. I like to thicken up my leader line to 40-pound fluorocarbon when targeting big snook. I typically use 20 to 30-pound leader for most of our inshore species, but snook have really hard lips that are rough like sand paper. Every head shake and turn or run can really scuff your line. This is where fluorocarbon becomes worth the extra money over monofilament line. Fluorocarbon is less visible in the water and will also hold up a little better than mono. Now I will say this, I have caught some really good fish on mono. But, when you’re targeting snook, it is really a good idea to go with fluorocarbon for the strength and lower visibility. Hernando County Sept 22 B

Snook are very observant and intelligent fish. They spook easily and are picky eaters. This time of year, I like using live bait for snook. White bait preferably, but big creek chubs or a good size shrimp will also do the trick. There is not a huge change from Summertime trends in September, but the days very slowly start to get shorter and these fish will really start chewing as the weeks go by. Early mornings and later evenings are best, but most important is a moving tide.

The redfish bite is still going strong. Again, I use a lot of live bait through September with most of the inshore species due to the water temp being warm. White bait and pinfish are great baits to target these fish.

Trout will slowly begin to stage in the bays toward the end of September. Live shrimp on a Four Horseman’s popping cork is my go-to for trout right now. The Four Horseman corks are top quality and worth the extra money for the product. The noise it makes when you pop it drives these fish crazy. The corks are heavy, which gives you a better cast, especially in the wind. Give these corks a try.

As always, I hope you get a chance to get out there and get your lines wet. Be safe, and tight lines everyone.