24NOV07

 

Snook head to winter oasis

 

Neo tropical snook are one of the first flats species to retreat deep into area rivers and residential canal systems for winter. Snook use the deeper backwaters as a blanket of insulation. These waters are slower to cool and often fed by warm freshwater springs and runoffs. Snook will travel several miles inland to find their comfort zone and food supply. In some instances, it is not uncommon to catch a snook and a largemouth bass out of the same spot.

 

The bait

 

All lures used to catch freshwater bass will work for late season snook. Top-water baits seem to produce best for average sized fish against the shoreline at high tide and lipped plugs are all time favorites around the docks, bridges and rip rap. For some of the biggest fish of the year, crankbaits and jigs are second to none after dark.

 

The formula

 

Winter negative low tides while the sun is down or just off the horizon concentrate the snook into the deeper holes and river bends. These conditions make finding the fish easier. Working a jig or crankbait as slow as it can be possibly worked is the key to keeping the lures close to the bottom where cool water snook feed. Using this technique for just a few hours this week produced three fish between 36 and 39 inches.

 

Last chance

 

The weekendís full moon will create low tides around daybreak and just after dusk. With snook season closing at midnight on December 1st, the next few days will be optimum for harvesting your last snook for 2007.

 

Capt. Robert McCue can be reached at (800) 833-0489 or through his website, www.GiantTarpon.com