Over the past few years, strict conservation efforts have improved snook populations from Florida to Texas. Last year, poor water conditions, including a red tide outbreak in southwest Florida, hit the fish hard. This year, Florida fisheries managers instituted a moratorium on killing snook to help the fish recover.
Here Are Some Pro Tips And Tactics For Catching Snook While Kayak Fishing
Weapons Of Choice
Rods: 7’8” Medium-heavy Shimano Teramar
Reel: Shimano 4000 Stradic Fj
Line: 30-pound braid
Leader: 30-pound fluorocarbon
Lures: Heddon Super Spook Jr in bone color, Rapala Twitch Stick, or Live Target BaitBall when the snook are feeding on silversides. Replace treble hooks with single hooks to avoid injuring the fish. Snook respond to loud lures, listen for rattles and beads.
Boat: Stand-up kayak or SUP with an open deck and a high seat or casting platform. Snook are sensitive to vibration and noise so look for a boat with no hull slap.
Rigging: Twin Power-Pole Micro anchors deploy quickly to stop the board when I see a snook. Two Micro anchors keep the boat stable so I can stand when I’m at anchor.
An ultimate inshore adversary, the silver fish with a long, black stripe can grow to 50 pounds and over 50 inches long. They will take a jig, swimbait or fly, but most anglers favor the explosive bite on a topwater lure. Snook are voracious predators with a devastating attack followed by a chaotic aerial battle.
But they’re no dummies. The fish have a prominent lateral line making them super sensitive to vibration. And their sharp eyesight can detect movement at a distance. For a few fishing tips, we turned to Kevin Hawkins, designer and owner of Kaku Kayaks and SUPs.
Hawkins says, “Snook are my favorite fish to target, they are powerful, aggressive and very smart.” He even admitted that he designed the Voodoo, a standup paddleboard and kayak hybrid, for sight casting to snook. He explains, “The hull is quiet and the elevated seat makes it easier to sight cast to spooky snook.”
When To Fish
Season Year-round. Best in fall and spring when snook are taking advantage of warm water on shallow flats.
Conditions Look for tidal current. Snook are ambush predators, waiting in a deep hole or eddy for bait to sweep by in the current. Low tide can be the best as snook gather in deep holes waiting for the water to return.
The worst time to fish is the day after a cold front passes. If the wind is blowing, simply slip a standup paddleboard into the backwaters where snook hide.
Snook will take live or dead bait. Or, I can blind cast to current breaks and structure. Sight casting is my favorite way to target snook. Stand up in the kayak and search shorelines, oyster bars and flats. Look for baitfish blowing up on the surface. Make a long, accurate cast if you hope to land a wary snook.
Sneak up on wary snook. Feature Photo: Courtesy Kaku Kayaks and SUPs