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June — a good month for snook

June 8, 2018
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

June is a red-hot month for the local angler. Our snowbirds have migrated home, tarpon and snook season is in full swing and boat ramps and hot-spots are less crowded.

The weather typically soon settles into its normal afternoon rain period and all species are actively biting.

The fresh rains and the need for salt will station snook at the passes and Gulf beaches all summer to spawn. Snook spawning takes place over a period of months, not all at once, with some snook not spawning at all.

When on your snook hunt, think docks, especially near the passes along the Intercostal and both sides of the barrier islands. The Sanibel Causeway spans hold untold numbers of snook of all sizes as well as goliath grouper and tarpon. (Expect almost anything at The Causeway - last year there were big kingfish skyrocketing high in the air attacking bait pods 75 yards south of the bridge at Punta Rasa.)

Find snook not only in the passes and beach fronts but any areas of beach structure, rocks, groins, downed timber or troughs in the surf zone.

The smallest amount of beach structure can hold multiple snook or one big gal. Beach walkers score at night as well as dawn making long casts parallel to the beach using white bucktail jigs or soft plastics tied to long, clear, fluorocarbon leaders.

Don't be afraid to experiment with top-water plugs at night and pre-dawn into morning daylight along the surf. Loud poppers, big Zara Spooks, prop-baits as well as big slim minnow plugs will all take snook.

Also, when selecting a top-water plug for a trophy snook, reach right in and grab the biggest plug in the box. A big snook prefers one big meal instead of chasing 15 little and very quick snacks.

Anglers get drawn into the "walk-the-dog" retrieve with top-waters and while it's a time tested technique, I prefer breaking it up with little jumps, splashes and foot-long fast pulls looking much more like a baitfish fleeing for its life.

For flies, I like a Lefty's Deceiver in white or a white Clouser Minnow when looking for a little depth while using a weight forward floating line.

Another killer fly for beach snook is a chrome Gummy Minnow or a Puglisi baitfish pattern, again in white/chrome.

Expect to see smaller males right up on the beach and the big girls hanging back in the first depression or drop-off. Remember, long casts out into the Gulf are usually wasted as the majority of beach snook are in the surf zone in knee to ankle deep water.

For fishing docks, casting a plastic shrimp up current and letting it sink (or skip casted far back and under) slowly is hot. Mend your line as your shrimp is washed back to you with an occasional slight twitch without overworking it. Line watchers have the edge as sometimes huge fish inhale the bait with hardly a twitch. I like at least 48 inches of fluorocarbon leader in the clear waters. Never overwork this lure, just let it glide with the current as you mend line in a controlled drift.

Cast netted white baits, pinfish or shrimp under a cork and cast next to a dock piling will bring them out for a fight. Free lined white baits pinned to a small circle hook cast under and close to structure is a sure ticket to snookville.

If you are the turn on the radio and bottom fish relaxed type angler, then by all means throw out half a mullet or ladyfish on each rod. The down side - you might catch a shark, giant redfish or tarpon while waiting for Mama Snook.

When dock fishing, snook always look for docks with good current flow and deep water either under or close to the dock. If you are in, around or near the passes, you are in a good starting spot.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-440-1621 or captgeorget3@aol.com.



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