Get out very early and walk the beaches for that sunrise snook as singles, doubles and whole schools patrol the dawn surf zone.
Pack some white buck tails or your favorite soft white plastics (ZMAN) on sharp jigheads, add your favorite rod and reel combo, release tools, polarized glasses, a bottle of water and hit the beach. This low-tech inexpensive technique can put you on fast action or that one jumbo snook of a lifetime.
The water typically is clear so using a long fluorocarbon leader puts the odds in your favor. Beachcombers from Sanibel to Boca Grande have a shot at these snook as they can show up anywhere along the surf.
Capt. George Tunison
I prefer getting knee deep and casting parallel to the beach verses casting out into the deeper water. Don't forget this is a deadly technique at night as well. Put a noisy top water lure in your nightstalker tackle bag. Yes, they will eat jigs at night, but night wading is up to you. Remember this is shark central this time of year and sharks hunt at night.
Boaters know that any structure, downed trees, rocks, groins, will concentrate these summer beach snook and make for fast fishing.
Blind Pass, Redfish, Captiva, and Boca Grande passes all are hosting big snook this time of year.
On two four-hour inshore trips this past week anglers aboard Flying Fins caught and released over 35 snook in both north and south Matlacha Pass, all on gold spoons, top water plugs, and fly rods. No live bait necessary, but bug spray, long pants, socks, sun gloves, and long sleeved shirts are a must as these fish were all caught along insect covered mangrove edges in less than knee deep water. Get out early or late to catch these fish, but be prepared. Bring cotton balls for your ears (you'll thank me) or wear a bug screen hat as it can get downright brutal out there.
Cape Canals also hold giant snook this time of year. Wednesday night I was broken off on a Cape dock by an over 30-pound monster snook while fishing large live bait under a balloon using a 60-pound fluoro leader. Don't be afraid to up your fluoro leader to 80-100 pound test for this close up combat fishing as resident snook way over 30 pounds stalk Cape canals and docks all year long.
Obviously, not all summer snook are at the beaches.
Not all tarpon are at the beaches and passes either. Again Cape canals, especially deeper ones, are holding tarpon of all sizes. From jigs to twitch baits and top water plugs, live and dead baits and fly rods you never know what will hit your next cast. Shrimp on the bottom draws too many cats so stick with cut catfish or mullet.
The Snook Hut is a recently opened full service bait and tackle store at 1407 B Cape Coral Parkway East (239-257-3615) offering a good selection of lures, terminal tackle, live and frozen baits as well as rod and reel repair. Cast net repair, line spooling, even mobile marine engine repair are also offered. Open seven days a week 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Closed for lunch 12-1.
Those waiting to bag the hard fighting and tasty gag grouper your time is near. Gag grouper season opens for recreational harvest in most Gulf of Mexico state waters and all Gulf federal waters July 1. The FWC manages marine fish from the shore to nine nautical miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.
The gag grouper recreational harvest season in Gulf of Mexico state waters remains open through Dec. 3, closing Dec. 4.
In state and federal Gulf waters, the gag grouper recreational harvest minimum size limit is 22 inches total length and the daily bag limit is two gag grouper per person within the four-fish grouper aggregate limit.