Snook Fishing Everglades
The biggest challenge for any angler is to catch snook while flying or doing a light tackle. However, though difficult, it is completely full of fun and extremely rewarding when you finally make it. There is no other fish that requires as much expert skills as the snook fishing everglades, but it is the pinnacle of fishing. It is because these fish will really put up a fight, staying close to any available structure and taking every chance to escape.
In South Florida, snook normally weighs around 5 to 15 pounds, but bigger ones can be caught in other parts of the state. But if you want to try sight fishing and fly fishing, there is no better place to try it than the Everglades National Park. The ideal time to do this is from early autumn to late springtime. To find the best game, I will bring you to areas full of shallow Sawgrass and ponds lined by mangroves, as well as some winding creeks and lesser-known little bays of the Everglades. These are the first places where it becomes warm most quickly after a cold front during fall to early spring. The place to go snook fishing is where the water is clear but lightly dark wine-stain colored. In these parts the environment is fertile for the snook and other baitfish, keeping them warm from the cold winter temperatures by staying warm longer when the sun shines.
Not to say that the cold fronts during this time of the year are not a good thing. Without them, the fish will not have the nourishment they need. The northerly winds that precede the northeasterly winds and the building high pressure are important factors. The high winds push the water to the west of the Everglades and the water levels fall because of the high pressure, thus forcing out lots of fish to be consumed by the waiting snook.
The tides, on the other hand, are highly influenced by the phases of the moon and the snook’s night time eating habit, and much less by the vertical movement of the waters. While many snook fishermen say that the best time to go fishing is when the moon is full, it is really only so when you are going at night, or when you are fishing in areas that are affected more by currents. On the other hand, you might find it better to go during the new moon or during the first quarter, specifically when the temperatures rise after a cold front. In these times, the current is always flowing outward due to the runoff of fresh water, as well as the northeast winds forcing the water away from the shallow parts.
During summer, there is almost no growth in the water due to the high temperatures leaking levels of vital oxygen. So these best spots during autumn to springtime turn barren in these weeks, the fish opting for colder water in the bigger bays, the mouths of flowing rivers and around the beaches of the gulf. If you are looking to catch some snook at this time of the year, you are better off fishing in these areas.
Pointers on Fishing Snook
No angler can say that he has done it all without catching snook. One of the main reasons for this is their special habitat. They are very picky and would normally choose areas that are not easily explored by humans. This kind of fish is not the same as the urban version of snook that is normally seen in canals and bridges in residential areas all over South Florida. While they belong to the same species, the challenge is catching them in these hidden and less-traveled parts of the state.
The Best Time to Catch Snook
You can catch snook at any time of the year, though the best time, I find, is sometime between the end of September and middle of April. At this time, the waters are oxygen-rich, thanks to the growth of aquatic plants. Moreover, these plants will deter other types of baitfish like bass, Mayan cichlids, and brim.
What Gear Do You Need?
Catching a tricky fish like snook, you would need the right gear as well.
1. Fly Fishing Gear
The level of difficulty of fly fishing snook is intermediate to expert. Anglers need 8 to 9 weight floating or clear floating lines. At times, it might be better to swap a traditional floating line for a clear sink tip or a clear floating line when the fish are more wary than usual.
As for leaders, a good choice would be a type of the usual IGFA big game leader, combined with a 12 or 16-pound class tippet. They should ideally be tied from about 8 to 10 feet including the butt section. Hookups can also be increased though making the shock tippet longer at 30 inches, instead of the standard IGFA 12. The good thing is that there is less visibility between the knots and it is also possible to clip off a broken fly or some inches of scuffed leader and be able to retie without needing to throw the whole leader. Fluorocarbon may be used for the tippets.
For snook flies, you can opt for baitfish patterns, “Deceiver” type streamers, as well as toads and poppers tied on 1/0 or 2/0 hooks. You should also consider bringing weed guards as they can be very helpful in areas with a lot of trees and deadfall.
2. Spin and Plug Fishing
The level of difficulty for spin and plug fishing of snook is novice to expert. You need a 10 to 12-pound test plug and spin rod and reel for this kind of fish. Other than this, a propeller plug, plastic jerk, and paddle tail baits, as well as bass tubes, jigs, and worms are required. You may also opt for some old-school bucktail jugs, shallow running plugs, and spoons. When it comes to choosing a line, a #4 diameter braid paired with a 30 to 40 lb. leader is best.
As stated before, snook fishing requires a bit of skill and know-how. From finding the best spot where they love to hide, to having the right gear and techniques to catch them, I will be with you in every step of the way. I will support your dream of snook fishing without the planning headaches, and I will even give my expert opinion on gear if you are thinking of bringing your own. It is not the easiest catch out there, which is why you can greatly benefit from my experience and help.