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It’s almost time to start checking out area ‘snook highways’

August 23, 2019
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Not all snook spawn every year or even head to their summer fling at the beach. The group that does stay beach-bound doesn't spawn all at the same time but does so over the course of the entire summer.

One thing for sure is, they will all leave for their timeless journey back to their winter haunts as the summer season starts to close. Actually many early spawners have already left the beaches for the return trip upriver and into the Cape's canal systems. If you fish an area long enough, you'll discover patterns or highways snook follow on their way to and from the beach areas. Some are obvious and some quite subtle.

Actually, time spent off water looking at aerial maps would be of great benefit when planning your next trip as you can pinpoint suspected snook highway hotspots that you want to explore saving time and gas.

These are hungry fish looking to put on the feedbag in preparation for the cold period and are prime targets for catch and release.

Fish points of islands and land as well as structure especially docks. Never pass up oyster bars for snook action especially early and late in the day where a top-water plug can produce a real whopper.

Any potential snook hideout is worth exploring but if you find one with current it's even better and will produce faithfully over the years to come.

Never discount night fishing at any time of year as that's when the big girls roll looking for a big mouthful and also when the properly equipped trophy hunter fishing a big live mullet or ladyfish has a good shot at a 30-pound plus, long as your leg, lifetime trophy.

With snook docks being prime targets, the experienced lure flipper, and especially the lure skipper, will get the most bites in a day's fishing.

Flipping will allow you to make soft entries with soft plastics around the edges and pilings but skipping that lure up and under, way back to the shoreline will bring out the big bites.

Make sure your leader is strong as this is close quarters combat fishing. Sometimes I'll set up my dedicated skipping rod with no leader and just use my 30 to 40-pound braid main line tied to my lure. It's dark under there, they can't see it and often the braid offers more resistance to rub or cut offs.

If you're not the casting type, soak bait on bottom in likely spots or fish them live under a balloon. Needn't get fancy, like tarpon, snook are scavengers and opportunity feeders and over the years a large mullet head or half a ladyfish has accounted for tons of snook over 40 inches.

For those that don't cast, have physical limitations or like me, can't sit still, pick a few lures and try the trolling game for sure action.

Trolling covers water presenting your lure to lots of fish, which is the name of the game. Pick out a milk run like a quarter mile shoreline of docks and go to work running that lure past every possible piling looking for a reaction bite.

A good trick is to carefully bend the eye of the lure causing it to swim to one side. This causes the lure to bounce off each piling and swing a little under the dock before bouncing off the next piling then repeating the process.

Bend carefully till you tune the lure correctly and hold on as these lure collisions with pilings often trip the triggers of reluctant fish.

With hundreds of miles of canals here in the Cape to explore, experienced trollers have definite trophy potential.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or



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