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March opens season on snook

February 27, 2015
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON (captgeorget3@aol.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Run snook run! From the FWC: The recreational harvest season for one of Florida's premier fish reopens Sunday in Florida's Gulf of Mexico state and adjacent federal waters, including Ever-glades National Park and Monroe County.

The season will remain open through April 30

In the Gulf, anglers may keep one snook per day that is not less than 28 nor more than 33 inches total length, measured from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed while the fish is lying on its side. A Florida fishing license and a snook permit are required to harvest a snook.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Snook are pretty much still holed up in their winter haunts, but very catchable as thankfully the water is not in the range that puts them into a non-feeding suspended animation state, or worse, dead as in "The Great Snook Kill of 2010."

With March here, hungry snook will move away from the backwaters as they've done for millions of years headed for the salty environments of the Gulf to spawn over the summer period.

The move to the Gulf occurs in stages, for example a snook moving from a winter backwater creek to its mouth and adjacent shorelines. On to mangrove islands and associated channels, over the coming weeks getting ever closer to the passes, the beaches, and the open Gulf where they will stay until the north winds blow once again signaling the time to return to the relative warmth of inland waters.

For anglers looking to disrupt the return trip of at least one snook this year and invite him home to dinner make sure these proven lures are in your cold water snook box.

Jigs in bucktail and in plastic.

Plastic shrimp. The new LIVE TARGET Shrimp looks so lifelike you could boil them. Lots of choices in this expanding market area.

Twitch Baits. MirrOlures, either the old standard style or the more modern MirrOdine types are all snook candy.

As it gets warmer and snook metabolisms perk up they will be more inclined to give chase. This is when the inshore redfish standby lure, the spoon, is also a killer snook bait. Spoons in both gold and silver.

Even warmer, never count out a topwater bite using a Rapala Skitter Walk, MirrOlure Top Dawg, or the classic Zara Spook and the other endless topwater lure choices available.

Trout time, and nothing works better than a medium live shrimp (or plastic if you don't like using live baits) under a popping cork.

Motor upwind of a four-foot flat shut down and quietly wind drift till you connect. Anchor and enjoy.

This year, if you are ready to finally bag your first true Florida gator trout on a lure then pick a few large topwater plugs and be on the flats way before sun up. Get settled, stop all noise and go into Ninja stealth mode. Make long casts without rocking the boat, put in your time and you will connect.

Drift or pole the boat for max results as seven-pound Southwest Florida trout know how to spell Minn-Kota backwards - trouble.

This year if you are lucky enough to bag a true trophy snook or tarpon or other long bodied game fish that's destined for a quick photo and release, make it happen in the water. The Boga Grip and other release tools are great except biologists have found hanging large fish vertically by the jaw can cause great damage and delayed mortality.

Odd that a device used for release fishing can also be deadly to trophy fish. We've all done it in the past, but these days photo and release them in the water.

If not, then always hand support them horizontally, not hang them.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or captgeorget3@aol.com, or www.flyingfinssportfishing.com.

 
 
 

 

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