If you've been procrastinating about getting out and catching one last, or your first, snook for the grill you've about run out of rope.
The recreational harvest closes December 1st in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters and will remain closed through Feb. 28, 2014, reopening to harvest March 1, 2014
The FWC says regular season closures help protect this valuable yet vulnerable Florida gamefish especially during the upcoming cold water period.
Capt. George Tunison
East coast snookers see a Dec. 15 through Jan. 31, 2014, closure which reopens again Feb. 1, 2014.
This east side snook closure also includes Lake Okeechobee, so if you're bass fishing this winter and your golden shiner gets eaten by a fabled 50-pound Lake O Super Snook, thick as your thigh from snackin on five-pound winter largemouths make sure you don't try to cram it into the live well of your Ranger.
If you needed to bag a snook before closure where would you find one in these parts this time of year?
Summer we would head to the beaches and passes. Now we seek our quarry inland, upriver, in canal systems, in deep holes, anywhere offering heat for their subtropical metabolisms. Two or three degrees can make a huge difference in their locations. Along with slowed metabolisms comes the need for slow presentations. Adding one of the new scents helps produce as well.
Gag Grouper anglers see their state season closed Dec. 4, with the last day of harvest being Dec. 3. All Gulf federal waters close Dec. 3 with the last day of harvesting being Dec. 2.
We are catching nice trout mostly on top, but with chilling waters I like heading subsurface slowly fishing my two favorite lures; a jighead and soft plastic paddle tail grub and the DOA Shrimp. Both can be fished top to bottom, shallow or deep, fast or more importantly ultra-slow. Both can be skipped far back under branches, docks, and various cover.
Both can easily hold and absorb scents and can even rest on bottom without movement and still catch fish. Both can be rigged in a variety of ways, including under a float for an always deadly presentations especially good for beginners. Tiny glass rattles can be added for sound.
Always use a loop knot with both lures for max performance. There are many loop knots that leave the tag end pointing away from you. No good. Use another as these are just weed catchers wasting your time and alerting fish. The knot should always have the tag end pointing toward the lure.
Rig the paddle tail grub totally weedless by using an OWNER TwistLOCK hook and weight combo which allows this bait to slide through the grass and branches without hanging up.
Rigging a DOA weedless is easily accomplished using a few inches of leader wire bent into a weed guard. (Go to the DOA.com site for a how-to)
Florida's salt and freshwater has an $8.9 billion impact on the economy and provides nearly 80,000 jobs. To promote fishing Governor Scott and the FWC announced another license-free fishing day which is Friday, Nov. 29, for freshwater anglers and Nov. 30 for saltwater anglers. There are eight license-free fishing days per year, where the requirement to have a recreational fishing license is waived for residents and visitors. All other fishing and boating regulations still apply.
Sadly the stats show that each year fewer and fewer kids participate in or start fishing and or hunting or shooting activities. Time in the woods or on the water is being replaced by cell phones or living on Facebook.
A 10-year-old, short rod, a bobber and a leaping ladyfish - ear to ear grin - new fisherman hooked for life! Another kid saved.