A quick background on the snook…
Being cosmopolitan, snooks (botanical name: Centropomus Undecimalus) are a specie of fish that are found everywhere. They are found in Atlantic and Pacific sides of North and South America. They are widespread throughout tropical waters, brackish water, fresh water and lagoons. Their natural habitats (which is sometimes referred to as niche) within these water bodies are under docks and bridges, inshore cover and structure and mangroves.
However, snook can not survive in water colder than 60 degree Fahrenheit. Though their colouration may vary depending on their habitats, they are usually dark gray to black on the dorsal surface, with their side view appearing to be silvery.
Sergeant fish, as snooks are fondly called, are characteristically around 1.5 feet (about 50 centimetres) in length, although those as long as 4 feet has been caught in few places and could weigh as much as 50 pounds. They do not have teeth, but they possess sharp gill plates which is the adaptive feature which makes it possible for them to be opportunistic predators.
Being opportunistic predators mean they are not picky with what they feed on. They feed on almost anything that comes their way. They feed mainly on smaller fishes, shrimps and crabs. There has been known cases of where they even feed on fish of their own specie. These sharp gill plates can also be used to attack anyone trying to catch them, hence, care must be taken when trying to catch snook. They taste delicious, so they are highly sought after by fishermen.
Snook Rig and Tackle
When it comes to catching snook, spinning or bait casting is best used. A 30 pound braid should be able to reach most situations, with fluorocarbon leader between 15-40 pounds depending on the size of fish. The bigger the fish, the larger the size of rod and reel suitable for catching it. Spinning is actually the most common type of gear used in catching snook.
Snook are very powerful, so gear that will be used in fishing them must be of relative size to the snook it is meant to catch. 7 to 8 foot action rod and spinning reel of 10-20 testline are recommended. Whenever gears are used to used in catching fish in salt water, the gear must be rinsed properly because salt water are corrosive and can destroy reels.
Clarity of water is another factor to consider when you set out to catch snook as this will give you clear view of the fish you are trying to catch, so there will be less struggle in catching them.
In addition, snook are usually caught by putting lures or baits near docks or other inshore structures, so when you set out to catch snook, make sure you have your lures and baits with you because snooks easily get caught when they are baited or lured. Lures are artificial baits. They are anything with close resemblance to minnow or pilchard or small sardines. Once they see lures or baits, they get easily enticed. Bait, on the other hand, can live pilchard or live shrimp or live small sardine.
However, snooks are highly sensitive to tidal movements. If the tidal level is low, the snooks will be uninterested in taking baits or lures as they will just lay quietly within the water, but if the tidal level is high, they will move with the tide and can be easily caught.
Snook Seasons Explained
Catching of snook can sometimes be affected by climatic conditions as well. In winter, for example, just like most other warm water fish, when water temperature falls below a reasonable level, the fish become torpid and hard freeze and eventually die off. So during this winter, they hardly go about looking for food but they will rather be making use of their fat store. Once spring comes and water becomes warmer, they tend to look for food to replace their already depleted fat store and in the course of looking for food can be easily caught by fishermen. Hence, the spring is a good time to go about fishing for snook.
Therefore, the most important factors to consider when trying to catch snooks are the tidal level of water, type of reel and rod to be used, how suitable the rod and reels are and the climatic condition of the time as these factors may determine the readiness of the fish to follow baits or lures used in enticing.