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Snook

By TERRY TOMALIN, Times Outdoors Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2000


photo
[Times art: Earl Towery]

Equally at home in fresh and saltwater, this popular sportfish is sometimes called a "linesider" because of the distinctive line running laterally along the side of the body.

Many anglers consider the snook to be the top inshore gamefish. They are voracious predators and love to ambush prey along mangrove shorelines and dock pilings.

Snook range from South Carolina to Southern Brazil, but in the United States can be found mostly along the coasts of Florida and Texas. This species is very sensitive to cold temperatures and may become stunned or die during severe cold fronts.

A snook can grow to 4 feet and 50 pounds, which makes it a real challenge to an angler using light tackle. Most fishermen use spinning or bait-casting tackle with topwater and diving plugs or jigs. Live bait -- scaled sardines in the summer and shrimp in the winter -- is probably the most effective.

Anglers targeting snook should fish around the changing tide. Snook fishing seems to improve during bad weather. Fishing also improves the first two or three days after a full- or new-moon phase. Most fishermen work the passes and beaches in the summer. Bridge fishing also is productive in the warmer months. But cold weather sends snook looking for warm water in the canals and creeks, making winter snook fishing difficult.

The state has an aggressive tagging program. If you catch a tagged fish during the closed season, copy down the tagged number and the time, date and location of the catch and contact the Florida Marine Research Institute at (800) 367-4461. Snook must not be less than 26 inches or more than 34 inches. The season is closed in June, July and August, and from Dec. 15 to Jan. 31. Anglers may keep two fish. It is illegal to possess more than one over 34 inches. It is illegal to buy or sell. A snook stamp required.

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Outdoors

  • Freediving off Bayport
  • Little Manatee River
  • Egmont Shipping Channel
  • Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve
  • The Tampa Bay Open Water Challenge
  • Snook
  • The Gunsmoke
  • Hiking in Withlacoochee State Forest
  • The Plunger
  • Shell Key
  • Running along the beach at Treasure Island
  • The Redington Long Pier
  • The St. Petersburg Yacht Club
  • The St. Petersburg Sailing Center
  • Mastry's Bait & Tackle
  • T.A. Mahoney's Marine Supply
  • Egmont Key
  • Blading at Fort DeSoto
  • Hillsborough River State Park
  • Sunshine Skyway fishing piers
  • The Great Scallop Search
  • Open-water swimming at Clearwater Beach
  • Rodbenders
  • Windsurfing at the Dunedin Causeway
  • St. Anthony's Triathlon
  • Trail riding at Wilderness Park
  • MacRae's Bait Shop
  • St. Pete Mad Dogs
  • O'Neill's Marina
  • Suncoast Surf Shop
  • The spring kingfish run
  • Florida Birding Festival
  • Sunset at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill
  • Red drum
  • 'The Kingfish King,'' Gene Turner
  • Bill Jackson Shop for Adventure
  • Tampa Bay Estuary Program
  • Building a sand castle
  • Saltwater Fly Fisherman
  • Eckerd College's Search and Recovery Team
  • Steve Yerrid's Kids Fishing Derby
  • The Weedon Island Canoe Trail
  • The Florida Marine Research Institute
  • Picnic Island Park
  • U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Clearwater
  • Merry Pier
  • Bass fishing on Lake Tarpon
  • Boyd Hill Nature Park
  • Horseback riding in Withlacoochee State Forest
  • Swim with the manatees in Crystal River
  • Brooker Creek Preserve
  • Spotted sea trout
  • Clearwater Sailing Center
  • The Madeira Beach Artificial Reef
  • The Osprey Trail
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  • Tampa BayWatch
  • Hurricane Pass Anglers Club
  • Campground at Fort De Soto Park
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  • Anclote Key
  • The Pinellas Trail
  • Old Salt Fishing Club
  • Treasure Island Charities
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  • Outrigger Outreach
  • Tarpon
  • The wreck of the Sheridan
  • The Pinellas Marine Institute
  • Wakeboarding on Lake Tarpon
  • The Swamp Ape
  • Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish
  • Biking and blading along Bayshore Boulevard
  • Stone crabbing beneath the Sunshine Skyway Bridge
  • White pelicans at McKay Bay
  • Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission's Urban Pond Program
  • Surfing at Upham Beach
  • Spanish mackerel fishing off the Fort DeSoto Twin Piers
  • Wyoming Antelope Club
  • The Center for Marine Conservation Beach Cleanup
  • Sand Key Park
  • The fall kingfish run
  • Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center at Apollo Beach
  • Sheepshead fishing off The Pier
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  • Davis Island Yacht Club Thursday Night Series
  • Trolling for grouper
  • The Suncoast Sierra Club
  • American Power Boat Association World Championships in St. Petersburg
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  • The Coquina Key Skate Park
  • Sea kayaking around Honeymoon Island
  • Safe Boating Classes
  • The Strange Man Biathlon
  • Shelling
  • Walking along the beach
  • The Florida Aquarium

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