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September Snooking

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On: Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 9:25AM | By: Merry Beth Ryan

"Everyone believes in something, I believe I will go fishing" Henry David Thoreau September marks the opening of the fall Snook season. There are lots of anxious anglers who have been anticipating opening day of Snook season for four long months. Well, the time has arrived and there is Snook fever in the air this month. Snook are one of my favorite fish to catch. They are one of Florida’s highly sought after saltwater fish. Whether it is the thrill of the hunt or the heart-stopping thump, Snook fishing is contagious. Watching a Snook crash a bait is as intense as it gets. Your adrenalin level will be at its peak, to say the least. There are many other fish out there that strike just as hard or harder than a Snook, but I assure you Snook is one fish that you will always remember catching. Talk about pure excitement and adrenalin rush, Snook are bound to give you that and then some. Live bait as well as artificial baits work well when targeting Snook. Snook hide near structure at times and they ambush any baits that get their attention. They are not like Snapper and Sheepshead who will peck at your bait taking little nibbles.

Snook strike with force and are great fun to catch. If you have never seen a big Snook swallow your live bait or artificial bait it is something to add to your “bucket list” of things to do in this lifetime. More and more anglers are using catch and release techniques especially when targeting Snook. Many anglers feel the Florida Snook are better off being released to swim away than they are on a dinner plate. A great deal of respect is granted to the Snook here in our state. As with all our fish we catch, it is necessary to properly handle the fish and revive all our release fish with tender loving care. If you want to take a photo of your Snook, be sure you hold the fish horizontally, placing one hand under the belly for support. Make it a quick photo and get the fish back into the water as soon as you possibly can.

Organizations such as the Snook Foundation and Mote Aquarium as well as Fish and Wildlife take extreme measures to ensure the Snook population continues to grow. Something to avoid at all times is feeding our released fish to the dolphin that will be lurking near by on any given day. Yes, dolphin are so very cute to look at and so very cute to take photographs of; just please do not feed your fish to them. If you spot dolphin around your fishing spot it is probably best you move to another spot. I would say that the dolphin have quite a size advantage as well as a speed advantage over the smaller fish being released and they will not leave that area when they know they can get a free meal from the fish you are releasing. Linesiders are not the only fish to grab the attention of anglers this time of the year. September is a peak schooling month for big Reds as well. Some are keepers, but most will be too large to keep, and some are just plain monsters. Redfish are very powerful strong fish, and when you get one of them at the end of your line you will be seeing red, because they sure will put a bend in your rod, just as a healthy fat Snook does. September will be a good month also for getting out and marking your spots in search of a nice Tripletail or a Cobia. There are not enough buoy lines to go around this time of the year, so make sure, while all the Snook anglers are out catching Snook, you take advantage of the opportunity to perhaps slip to the outside and try your luck with a Tripletail and or a Cobia. You may very well have great success while other anglers are concentrating solely on seeing a keeper Snook on the end of their hook. Both Tripletail as well as Cobia are fine eating fish.

Keep only what you and your family at home can eat. Fish is best when it is fresh, not frozen in your freezers for weeks and months at a time. September is very well known for being one of the biggest baitfish months of the year. Where there is bait there is fish, so keep that in mind when seeking your bait for the day. Anglers who have a flexible schedule can do well with big Snook by keeping an eye on the weather. September downpours usually move in daily, we just never really know when. There have been some wicked storms brewing lately so always be on the lookout and be safe on the water. Mother Nature is not someone or something to second guess. Just before a rainstorm and just after a rainstorm are often some great fishing. The fish definitely sense the barometric pressure changing, so they, therefore, also change their feeding habits to adjust. Opening day of Snook season took some of the heat off the local Redfish populations and some larger schools should be found. As with any type of fishing, patience is a must. Patience is that long lost art of waiting quietly, and without complaint, for something to happen (Something I struggle with in my fishing daily). It is true that anglers often appear to be doing just that, but I am not so sure any person has endless patience. Just being out on the water in such a serene spot usually is enough, and if a fish suddenly happens to intrude upon a fisher person’s recreational routine, so be it. That would just be an added fringe benefit to an already perfect day.


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