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The Snook Cowboy - Keepin’ It Hot in the Cold

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On: Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 9:59AM | By: The Snook Cowboy

In the last article I wrote that we were going to be changing our fishing habits. Well, now that the water has cooled off, the annual migration of fish is in full swing. Fish of all sorts will be moving through our area. Pine Island Sound is one of the most ecologically sensitive and vibrant bodies of water in the world. With that in mind, we are going to have a plethora of fish take up winter residence. My two favorites, the Snook and Red, are making their way into the backwaters away from boat traffic and cold water. Last season my partner, John Paeno, and I located some of the sweetest fishing holes one would want to fish, and the best part of it is you can get there only by kayak. As the water continues to cool down, the fish are going to be in the shallower warmer waters for the rest of the season, providing excellent cold-water action throughout the winter months. When the water gets cooler the fish have a tendency to be less aggressive as when the water is warmer.

Bait presentation needs to be slowed down, meaning don’t crank and twitch as rapidly as you normally do; also cut-baits soaked on the bottom will almost guarantee you a Snook or Red. Be patient and work an area that you choose to fish. The fish are cold and it may take them a minute to muster up the energy to move from a sunbeam. Potholes are great places for Snook and Red. Pine island Sound is loaded with them, and the backwaters have plenty of potholes on the flats constructed by the very fish that forrage in these areas. The water is very clear right now and one should be very sneaky when approaching your potholes or flat. John and I actually get out and wade the shoreline because not only are there fish up in the mangrove line but also the adjacent deep water surrounding the flats. Some flats actually have traffic channels right next to them and it doesn't seem to affect the fishing...probably because everybody drives 40 miles an hour and drives right past them. Nobody fishes them. We Do!! With that type of scenario you have the opportunity to fish both extremely shallow and up to ten feet in depth in the adjacent channels.

I have found that dragging an artificial across the channel and up to the flat has produced Snook, Redfish, and Gator Trout that fight like a Snook. Last season I caught two 26-inch trout out of the channels that were flanked by grassbeds on one side and the shore on the other, providing a variation in structure and water-flow that is condusive for a variety of fish. Waterflow is essential when hunting a flat to fish. I have found that stagnant flats do not hold that many fish, and the ones that have channels close by, or are at an island, so that the water simply flows through it, there are inshore fish of all types. Good water flow is essential to a productive site to fish. Uusally in the winter months the good ole jumbo shrimp is hard to beat; however, the scented artificials are rather effective, as well as the shallow running crank baits. Focus on days that have four tides, usually with an ending outgoing tide in the morning and a tabled high tide in the afternoon; that should produce some excellent action both in the morning and the afternoon fishing sessions. Another good thing about the winter months is you should wait until about 9:00 am for the sun to come up and start warming up the fish. Cold Fish = No Action I am NOT a morning person unless it is warm and humid...Florida Boy, what can I say.The same holds true for the fish. Do not be in a hurry; be patient as you will find plenty going on around you to entertain your senses. Slow down, enjoy the trip, and enjoy the action that will surely follow.

Take your video camera!! I am sure there have been times that you cursed yourself for not bringing it. Keep on fishing like you do, but slow down and enjoy the time in Nature. We all run too fast in our everyday lives to hurry and rush our time on the water. Not only that, but by slowing down and looking you might be suprised to find how many places to fish that you have been riding over this whole time. I had a great turnout for my seminar at Backwater Outfitters last month, and for those of you who didn’t have a chance to make it you can catch me at Cape Tool and Tackle on N.E. Pine Island Rd., Saturday, November 15th all day with a seminar at two. For details you can contact Miles Merrideth Cape Tool and Tackle 1-239-574-6970 THE SNOOK COWBOY Craig Timbes is a Florida native who specializes in the catch-and-release of Monster Snook. A Pine Island resident, he offers instruction, guided kayak fishing excursions, owns a U.S. Patent for his fishing pole, is a staff writer for The Nautical Mile Magazine, and is a premier partner for Excitations Discovery Channel, the exclusive adventure package provider for the Discovery Channel and its affiliates. e-mail BE GREEN !!!!


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