Residential canals are the places to look for snook. They are a few degrees warmer than open areas exposed to the elements. Snook will seek out these "spas" until the water warms this spring. But not all canals are productive, and seeking the ones that hold fish will be the difference between success and failure.
Canals that dead end to the north will be warmer as they are not exposed to cold north winds. Usually, moving water is the key, except this time of year when the water is in the 50s and 60s. The less current the better, and dead-end canals provide that. Also, canals that have muddy bottoms retain heat better than sandy bottoms.
Getting snook to feed is the hardest part of catching them in the winter as their metabolism slows. Small baits will catch more fish. Live shrimp is the best live bait now. Shrimp swim slowly, and that's just what snook are looking for. Snook will not exert more energy to catch a meal than they will get from it. Light jigs are perfect for winter snooking. They sink slowly, which can prove deadly. Strawberry, motor oil and darker shades are productive.
Though snook are cold and might be lethargic, they'll put up a dandy fight. Rig with at least 20-pound gear if you want any kind of chance.
- Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at 727 510-4376 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org