After last winter's massive snook kill one would have thought it would be over. I saw so many dead trophy snook in one canal you could almost walk across them.
As of the last week or so they seem to be plentiful and biting my redfish lures with gusto. A four-hour redfish trip on Wednes-day produced seven beautiful, clean and healthy snook that were charged up and ready to do battle. My client wanted reds, but was thrilled when the first 34-inch snook clobbered his topwater plug in a sun-warmed shallow bay in the middle of the day and took to the air several times acting more like a tarpon than a snook.
This pattern continued as the tide flooded in and six more were brought to the boat for pictures, careful handling, and healthy releases. All but one was caught on a Zara Spook (secret color) in the middle of a bright warm afternoon.
Capt. George Tunison
Being an old bass fisherman I usually think of topwater plugs being most effective in low light conditions. Capt. Brian David of Matlacha reminded me that's not always the case as a "captain's day" fishing trip produced some nice trout for him with a gator of nearly five pounds, all on a topwater, under the intense afternoon sun, while the fish shunned my MirrOlures, spoons and soft plastics.
Many folks say they don't target snook, but I say I couldn't keep them off my line when targeting redfish. As long as it's legal and handling is minimal (water release) I'm fine with it. I have a no-kill snook policy aboard my boats anyway, backed up by State law regulations.
Remember, all game fish are important and careful handling insures the future of our sport. Always strive for an in-the-water release of any large fish. Hanging a big snook, tarpon, red or any large fish by a Boga Grip or other release tool vertically causes internal damage.
If you must, secure the fish's jaw and while in the water slide your hand along its belly. Lift horizontally for a quick photo then gently get the fish back in the water.
Never handle fish, especially trout, with dry hands or towels. Don't drag them across rocks, lawns or sand, drop them, throw them or any other such nonsense. This rubs off the protective slime coat and allows bacterial or fungal infections to get started that eventually kills the fish.
Just because a fish swims away strongly does not mean it's a healthy release. I see so much game abuse every year it's quite disheartening and makes me wonder if an education course on plain ol' common sense should be mandatory for new fishing license applicants.
Tip: Using a Zara Spook topwater, the typical retrieve is the classic walk-the-dog pattern. For snook use this retrieve, but break up the walking pattern with pauses and quick erratic bursts of speed which triggers snook into eating.
Capt. Dick May of Easy Rider charters tells me that keeper redfish have shown up. This past week he's still catching a lot of shorts, but has caught slot-size reds plus three over 31 inches.
Trout and Spanish mackerel continue to be good on the grass flats with many keeper-size trout. Reds have all been caught on live shrimp and trout and mackerel on three-inch white gulp shrimp under a rattling cork. A few tarpon are being sighted and a few caught.
The 4th annual Bricks & Sticks Inshore Tournament is scheduled for May 20-21 at Tarpon Point Marina
Plenty of open days still available for spring charters.
Let's go fishing!
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.