Snook Season Opens on Florida?s East Coast
Snook season opened on the east coast of Florida today, after a closed spring season to allow the fish to recover from the 2010 winter freeze that decimated the population of this tropical species. Snook season
remains closed on Florida?s west coast, including Everglades National Park and all of Munroe County waters.
?There were good schools of fish in Palm Beach and St. Lucie Inlets this past week, but the fish are going to start moving inshore and following the mullet,? said Capt. John Meskauskas of Stuart, Florida. ?We caught a slot fish on fly before the sun came up on opening day.
Other top spots holding fish right now are Sebastian and Fort Pierce Inlets, two areas on the northern end of the fish?s range that receive a lot of pressure in the fall from snook anglers looking to catch their
one fish 28-32 inches in length that they may keep for the table.
?We?re already seeing the first of the fall mullet run,? said Joe Cantrabone, a regular at Sebastian Inlet. ?For the last week or so, there?s been snook blowing up mullet and cartwheeling into the air at first light. The biggest problem is all the redfish you have to weed through to get to the snook.?
At Fort Pierce Inlet, the South Jetty is the top spot, and anglers have been catching and releasing snook every morning and evening prior to opening day. Large schools of minnows and juvenile pilchards gathered along the jetty and shoreline have the snook stacked and feeding ravenously at first
?Just about any swimming plug will work, as will soft plastics like a Bass Assassin Sea Shad in any of the green or pearl colors,? said Al Herns of Fort Pierce. ?All the fish are right against the rocks or along the shore for about 100 yards south of the jetty. Just look for the busting fish.?
Snook action has also been steady along the beaches of St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties, with anglers flocking to Hobe Sound Beach, Blowing Rocks in Jupiter, and the Power Plant area in St. Lucie County to fish for snook and tarpon that are in close to shore feeding on the mullet schools.
On opening day, Steve Kantner of Ft. Lauderdale released a pair of over-the-slot snook at Hobe Sound Beach. He caught his fish on fly rod while fishing baitfish patterns in the trough along the shore.
Going into the first week of snook season, the fish are still holding in their summer spawning haunts, but as the mullet run picks up and the baitfish start massing in the Intracoastal Waterway, more fish will push in through the inlets and start focusing on the docks and bridges. For now, the inlets are still the hot spot to catch snook, although area bridges and seawalls are also starting to produce.