Fish Files: Snook

snookThe waters of the world are filled with so many species of fish that it will make your head spin just to think of the habits and proper tackle used to catch each of them. Not to worry, however, as I’d like to take care of your light work for you and profile a few of the popular game fish that you’re likely to find when you’re on the water. First on the list is a popular game fish that I’ve learned a lot about over the years (mostly because it’s a dream of mine to fish for it), but one I’ve never had the chance to catch: the snook.

With a long, slender body, much like a pike, but with a mouth like a bass, the snook is a very sleek and strong fish. The snook’s black lateral line (remember, that’s the collection of sensory organs that commonly forms a line along a fish’s side), is apparent and contrasts sharply to its silvery-green body. Snook range in size, with some reaching nearly four feet and weighing in at close to 50 pounds. It’s power and speed provide a great fight, much like a big largemouth bass, when hooked, which has made the snook one of the most desired inshore game fish.

Like redfish, snook can be found in both fresh and saltwater, but when the temperature drops, look for them near any warm water discharges. They roam near shorelines, inlets, and estuaries, but still prefer to seek structure such as reefs. A very popular spot to find them, however, is within mangrove roots along shorelines.

Speaking of those pesky mangroves, many have wondered how they’re supposed to catch the elusive snook when they spend most of their time meandering the tangled mess of roots that the trees are known for. There’s a secret to fishing mangroves that I learned a long time ago and have spent some time practicing, should I ever get the chance to fish for snook. With a soft plastic lure on your line, you want to cast a very low sidearm cast very, very hard. When done properly, your lure will actually skip like a stone right into the roots. This technique is so easy and, with some practice, you’ll be skipping like a pro in no time. It is also very useful in freshwater situations too.

If you’re not in the mood to skip your plastics, though, live shrimp, along with mullet, work wonders for snook. Soft plastics in a variety of patterns work well, also. Try out saltwater swimbaits in new penny, white, or electric chicken first, then experiment with whatever you like. Mirrolure also makes a variety of baits designed for inshore fishing that are worth checking out.

Fishing for snook is very similar to bass fishing, in that you use many of the same techniques and the fish itself feels just like a big bass when hooked. You can use your bass rod, reel, and line without fear and pick up a few jigheads and a bag of soft plastics designed for snook and hold on tight once you’ve found the fish. Try a few of the techniques I’ve outline, especially skipping your plastics, and I know you’ll have a great time pulling fish after fish to the boat.