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Snook Fishing With a Mad Man

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On: Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 5:14PM | By: Clay Ritchings

I was invited to go fishing with Captain Dave Pomerleau or “The Mad Snooker.” He did not get his nickname by being a crusty old curmudgeon who barks at you for everything you do wrong; no, he is not that kind of mad. I have been fishing with too many of those types of captains. Captain Dave is crazy for Snook fishing, night Snook fishing, to be exact, and it shows in his approach, preparation, and his lack of a tan. Why does he insist on fishing for Snook at night? To put it in Dave's words, "Snook fishing is just way better at night because Snook are such nocturnal feeders.” I soon found out that Dave is right.

Captain Dave is about everything night fishing and can put you on the Snook; he does two types of fishing: fishing for numbers or fishing for monsters. We chose to go with the numbers this time and it paid off. By the time we got on the water it was already dark, but the ride was short to one of Captain Dave’s “honey holes." We crept in quietly and anchored near a dock that had a submerged fish light that the home owner was nice enough to leave on for us. The light bathed everything in a green glow and when you looked in the water, you could see Snook stacked up thick. The first spot he brought us was like shooting fish in a barrel.

We started casting shrimp and landed a few but the real fun was using the artificial and teasing the fish into a violent strike. These were no monsters, but what we gave up in size, we made up in quantity. I lost count, but by the end of the night, we landed around 50 Snook. Since the Snook fishery is indefinitely closed, all fish were safely returned into the water so that they can grow up and be caught again. It was really nice to see so many in one place; it really is encouraging that the Snook population is rebounding from the harsh winter that they endured and that resulted in the loss of so many fish. Captain Dave explained it to me like this: ”most of the younger teenagers survived while the older, larger Snook population took the hit from the cold.”

I found Captain Dave to be knowledgeable, patient, humorous, and, best of all, able to put me on fish! His addiction to FloridaSnook fishing for the past 23 years has enabled him to amass an impressive list of hot-spots that he can go to ensure a good trip. In that time he has personally caught over 50,000 Snook with at least 1,000 over 20 pounds, 230 between 25 and 30 pounds, 75 over 30 pounds, and three over 40 pounds! Impressive numbers, but considering the amount of time he spends on the water catching Snook, these numbers are probably conservative. All his Snook were caught in the wee hours of the night.

It has been a long time since I have done any night fishing; I think it was Striper fishing near Barnegat Inlet or maybe it was slammer Bluefish on the Gambler in Point Pleasant; either way it has been a real long time since I went out in the cloak of darkness to get a fishing fix. Night time fishing for other species is different—usually drop bait in the water and let the current do the work—but this trip turned out to be far more interesting. I look forward to another trip with The Mad Snooker; maybe next time we will go where the Monster Snook lurk.

If you want to find out why “night time is the right time” get some bug spray and call The Mad Snooker or check out his gallery of photos he has amassed over the years by going to his website

Note: Unlike most fishing guides The Mad Snooker does not sport a tan that would make Governor Crist jealous, quite the contrary; his milky white skin has landed him the role as “Count Snookula” in the infamous Halloween episode of Average Angler Adventures with Glen Pla. According to the Hollywood rumor mill, Captain Dave will be appearing in this year’s Halloween special—Count Snookula’s Revenge.

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