Snook is a Bass on Steroids! By: Capt. George Hastick

Snook is one of my favorite fish to target. Even though I have many favorites, it is in my top three. April is a great month to target these linesiders. The bait has shown up in numbers and the snook have their feedbags on and, with a good presentation, you will get hooked up to one of these great fighting fish. They give such a spectacular fight with their topwater explosiveness, their rocket like runs, jumps and gill raking head shakes! It is everything you could ask for, out of an inshore predator fish. They are definitely an ambush fish with explosive strikes that can be memorable.

My typical set up is a 7-foot 6-inch medium heavy spinning rod 8 to17-pound having a moderate-fast taper spooled with Fins 10 to 15-pound braid. I use 4 to 5 feet of 25-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 to 2/0 light wire Owner circle hook. Adjust the hook size to the size of the bait you are using. This is the typical set up for fishing in the flats and along the mangroves during the day.

Now, nighttime is a different story. You can run heavier tackle to fish the bridges like Gandy, John’s Pass, Howard Franklin and the Courtney Cambell along with many other local smaller bridges that will hold some large snook. Since you will be fishing around the pilings, you will have to up your mainline and leader, along with your hook size, depending on what bait you are throwing.  At night, you can get away with 40 to 50-pound leader to help get those large snook out from the pilings. During the day, because they can see the leader, you usually would not get a bite, unless the water you are fishing is deep enough to hide the leader due to less light at the deeper depths. When fishing the larger bridges, you will have to add weight, like an egg sinker, to keep your bait down near the pilings. A slip egg sinker rig is a nice set up for this, since you can get the lead to the bottom and then let line out to get the bait just in front of or next to the piling. Pinfish are a great bait when fishing deep structure like this, since they will swim down most of the time without any weight.

During the day, scaled sardines is a great choice freelined along and under the mangroves.

Myself, I like fishing light tackle during the day and being able to see that large 30 to 40-inch snook chase my bait down and demolish it! On my best day with a client, we caught three snook in a row over 40 inches in three feet of water. After my client caught two, he asked me if I wanted to take a shot and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. So, I saw two beasts, made the cast and watched as my bait got chased up into 1.5 feet of water and get hammered, so the third one in a row was nailed. It was a day to remember.

Tight Lines,

Capt. George Hastick