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Eric 02-17-2006 07:37 PM

Battles with Snook
Don't get me wrong about this, guys and gals.

I had my first experience with Snook last year off Englewood Beach and environs in mid-central, west Florida.

I caught fish to about 8 lbs. on flies using an 8 wt. rod. I've caught less than a dozen. While I enjoyed the experience, and the absolute beauty of the species, I thought the fish a little on the wimpy side, judging from their reputation. Beyond the first strong bolt for the mangroves, the fish showed little resistance to being reeled in and released.

I fished in April, cold temperatures, and an unprecendented lack of bait (red tide had plagued the area about a month before).

I intend to fish for these assassins whenever and wherever I can:


What are your comments on the game abilites of snook? To me, they seem like extremely beautiful large-mouth bass.

I hope to be disabused of this illusion,


Steelheader in Oregon

arubaman 02-18-2006 10:19 AM

Hi there,
In my opinion snook and barracuda are family of the pike. In the Netherlands where I live I catch a lot of pike on the fly, back home (aruba) thereīs cudaīs and snooks which I caught on several techniques.
All three fish of this family give me a huge thrill, the aggressive style of attacking bait or flies is fabulous. Adrenaline rushes whenever all of a sudden itīs that big assault on your bait. But after the strike most of these fish tend to drill a lot easier then other fish, for example jacks or bones in the sea, or trout or carp in freshwater. I think itīs the way they feed, the way they are build.
They are opportunistic hunters/feeders, top of the top predators. They stand still and wait for their chance. Then itīs a huge very very fast anaerobic strike, but afterwards itīs also back to the slow mode to recharge the muscles. They have a lot of white muscles which are of quick strong action, but they donīt have the real endurance type (red muscles). I think thatīs why the drills most of the times are short. After dealing with that first explosion of energy the fish gets tired quickly, so basically the drills wonīt be with long runs.

Well, thatīs my opinion, wonder what the rest thinks about it...

SSPey 02-18-2006 12:04 PM

the few snook that I've caught fell into that category. But what I can't understand is how large and smallmouth bass seem to be cut from entirely different cloth in this same respect.

Capt.PeteRowney 02-18-2006 07:48 PM

Are you sure you guys having been catching snook?

Eric 02-18-2006 07:49 PM


The fish I caught and called "snook" looked like this:


FLStan 02-19-2006 09:28 AM

Having caught many I would say they are a largemouth bass on steroids. Hook a big fish around mangroves and you will be luck if you can turn him. In open water or current a big fish will have a strong initial run but not a such long run then it will start to tire. After I turned one of my tornament bass fishing buddies on to snook fishing he said it improved his bass fishing because a big bass did not seem to be that big of a deal fight-wise anymore. BTW, he just lives off of West Lake Toho in Kissimmee, FL, home of the legendary BASS record stringer.


jfbasser 02-19-2006 12:51 PM

Have to agree with Stan and Capt. Pete...Snook are hard pulling fish when they make that run for the mangroves..very difficult to stop compared to most fish of their size that favor shallow water.

Capt. Mel Simpson 02-19-2006 07:41 PM

I don't know what you are comparing catching a Snook to, but I grew up in Oregon and have fly fished for Steelhead from the Grande Ronde to the Umpqua and also in Idaho, Washington and British Columbia. I've fly fished for Bonefish and Permit in the Bahamas, Belize and the Keys. In 1993 I moved to the west coast of Florida to expressly fly fish for Snook (the Redfish and the Giant Tarpon here were just an added enticement). And I've never been disappointed. Catching a Snook while sight casting on a shallow flat, or at night or in the backcountry mangroves can be a rod breaking experience! I guess I just find the whole sight fishing experience so much more exciting than three quarters down and swing.

Now, I was in the Keys March and April of last year and at Homosassa in May and June so I only night fished for Snook in upper Tampa Bay during the red tide so maybe that was the problem. I heard that the red tide really hurt the fish and made them sort of like hooking a spawned out Sandy River hatchery Steelhead in February.


Eric 02-19-2006 10:05 PM

Thanks, Mel. This is really what I was wondering. I thought maybe the fish were "off" due to conditions. As to what I expected, I guess I was looking for more speed and stamina than the fish were able to deliver under the conditions prevaling at the time. I'm looking forward to fishing for them again this summer.

Arubaman: great analysis. I think you make a great deal of sense in regards to the stamina of ambushing fish compared to fish that must chase down their prey.



juro 02-19-2006 10:28 PM


Originally Posted by Capt. Mel Simpson
Now, I was in the Keys March and April of last year and at Homosassa in May and June so I only night fished for Snook in upper Tampa Bay during the red tide so maybe that was the problem. I heard that the red tide really hurt the fish and made them sort of like hooking a spawned out Sandy River hatchery Steelhead in February.


The snook is an awesome fish. However it would seem by this account that you've not hooked many memorable steelhead. The snook I've caught, although I haven't set any records, have been about half the fight of a striper and about a third of a bluefish at best. And that's just a fraction of a Thompson River steelhead or a Neah Bay chinook salmon, and with the acrobatics of a big slab-sided Sekiu hooknose leaving you dizzy enough to fall overboard I can't say that I see the comparison. I've hooked bonefish that have destroyed my drag and made me go out and buy all new gear, unfortunately I haven't landed one of these scary beasts, maybe this year. At least if these had been snook I could have landed them to tell about it. But then they wouldn't have been monster bones, just snook. :lildevl:


Capt. Mel Simpson 02-20-2006 09:50 AM

More and more I find myself expressing my opinions based on my experiences, like 36 years of steelheading with a fly (sometimes doing that while living out of the back of my car), on the Umpqua, the Deschutes or the Clearwater from August through October fishing everyday for the 3 months.

Then there's 25 years of saltwater, like doing two 15 day trips a year to Andros or Belize for 9 years. Oh, I almost forgot, how about catching stripers from a pram behind the old PanAm hanger at SFO.

And then the last 13 years I've been fishing out of my flats boat a couple hundred days a year, mostly for snook, redfish, tarpon and bonefish with one trip a year to the Northwest to steelhead fish.

Memorable fish? Ah, there've been a few and I'm still glad I came to Florida to chase snook!


juro 02-20-2006 10:18 AM

Well I'm inspired Mel...

I need to meet some of these meaner snook someday soon! As cold as it is up here now would be real good :)

tight lines

flydoc 02-20-2006 05:32 PM

Hopefully I'll run into some of the more hostile ones on my trip to Longboat Key March 11-19; purchased the full season saltwater license (instead of the 7 day one) so I could fish the extra day (or two) and put a little into the conservation kitty. Planning on working the mangrove flats on the Sarasota Bay side (there's a great public park with wading access to the flats- Jimmy Durante's widow donated the funds for the park) during the day, and the inlet at the northern tip of the island at night (the bridge lights should attract the snook). Wish me luck!

mdbones 02-20-2006 05:45 PM

You just caught the wrong snook................
1 Attachment(s)
Eric -

You just did not have the right Snook on, I bet this one would take some drag off that eight weight (I do not know the angler just that it was from Panama).

As mentioned earlier - Fishing for snook is about the take and the 20 seconds after the take. I have seen more than one 9 weight snapped at the base while trying to stop a pig from trying to make it back under the dock.

Even though they do not have the stamina of a bone (or the speed for that matter) - this fish still offers one of the best takes and pulling power of any shallow water fish in Florida!


Capt.PeteRowney 02-20-2006 07:51 PM

I have to say Juro, I am amazed at the speed of your response to my post. I am amazed because I still have unconfirmed email receipts to you dating 11/26 and 12/7 regarding sponsorhip/advertising for my guide business. I had initially posted a fishing report and was immediately reprimanded for not being a sponsor. Not a problem. The only thing is have been waiting for close to three months to get a response to my email regarding my potential sponsorship. If you'd like I can cut and paste all of the emails to refresh your memory. Thanks- Pete.

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