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Captain's corner

By ED WALKER

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 2, 2000


Fall snook season has arrived. Evening temperatures have cooled the water, and snook along the northern Suncoast have been on a rampage.

While there have been a fair number of large fish, the biggest news is the unprecedented number of small snook. In my 12 years as a guide, I have never seen as many juvenile snook as I have recently. Nearly all the mangrove shorelines, canals and creeks have schools of mini-snook patrolling the edges.

Some areas are loaded with so many 12- to 15-inch snook that it is difficult catch any larger fish. This is a great sign that our snook population may be on the increase.

On a recent trip, we had a monster snook attack a smaller one as it was being reeled in.

The adult snook have started to move deeper into the backwaters and inland toward their winter hideaways. Some of these areas are holding small tarpon, which are a welcome addition to any day's catch.

A client recently caught a super grand slam -- tarpon, snook, redfish and trout -- on light spinning tackle.

Live bait is king, particularly in areas where the water is tannic stained. If you happen upon a school of mini-snook, use caution when handling them. Their mouths are fragile and can be damaged when removing the hook.

- Ed Walker charters out of Palm Harbor. Call (727) 944-3474.

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