This is Capt. Jonathan Moss with this month’s Pro Tip! I recently had the opportunity to travel south to Stuart, Fla., to film a new episode for my fishing show, Captain’s Log. I had the privilege to fish for snook around structures with my good buddy, Brenton Roberts. Stuart is a unique area with beautiful homes along the southern end of the Indian River Lagoon. Every waterfront home has incredible snook habitat, that is, seawalls and docks. Of course, these structures are also called home by many other predators and baitfish, but our focus was the ole linesider! So, let’s talk about snook fishing and the tackle we used that led to success.
Prior to my trip south, I established a game plan over the phone with Brenton. We both agreed that we would need a rod and reel combo with some backbone. Our selection, an 8 ft.-heavy Templefork Outfitters Tactical Inshore spinning rod, paired with a Florida Fishing Products Saltwater Series Osprey 6000, spooled with 40 pound braided line. This combo has plenty of power and drag to pull big fish away from the structure and cast big baits with ease, all while being sensitive enough to feel the bite.
Now, for this particular day, we decided that we were going to use live baitfish, specifically pilchards. We also had some large mullet in the well. To connect these baits to our lines, we reached for Owner SSW with Super Needle Point 5/0 hooks. These hooks are not circle hooks, so you do need to set the hook…and that might just be my favorite part.
Lastly, and this may be the most important part, leader size. Leader selection is tricky. Too light of a leader, you will most certainly lose the fish. Too heavy of a leader, the fish may not even bite. With that mindset, we originally rigged our rods with 50 pound fluorocarbon leader. We caught fish, but also noticed fish turning their nose away from our tasty offerings. After one too many denials, we re-rigged with 40 pound fluoro, and that made all the difference. Leader size is important, so always be prepared with different sizes and plenty of them! After you land your snook, check the leader and, if necessary, re-tie your hook on since snook have a very abrasive mouth and will fray thick leader.
Now I know what you are thinking, and you’re right! Yes, I may have been fishing south of Brevard County, but these same techniques can be utilized here in our inlets and other areas around the state that hold big snook!
If you are interested in watching this specific episode, it is entitled, “Tug of War” and is free to watch 24/7 on the Waypoint TV app, my YouTube page (The Captain’s Log TV) or on Amazon Prime Video.
Capt. Jonathan Moss
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