What's hot: Cold fronts and cooling water have kicked off the "backcountry" snook fishing. Snook of all sizes are collecting in schools away from their summer and fall "beach" locations. A great inshore opponent, strong snook feeding activity can be consistent well into the midday hours.
Tackle: Many snook caught since the last cold front are in the over-slot category, so stout tackle is required. Medium to medium-heavy rods are appropriate. A 30-pound fluorocarbon shock leader reduces the number of fish lost. Lightweight jigs rigged weedless are rarely refused. A 1/16-ounce jighead is ideal, dressed with a 5-inch plastic jerkbait tail. For deeper water or areas with strong currents, use a heavier jighead to get the lure down in the water column.
Techniques: With the action so strong, locating the fish is the biggest obstacle. Rivers, creeks and canals are excellent places to start the search. Areas that have larger baitfish such as pinfish and finger mullet likely also will be inhabited by snook. They are "ambush" predators. Make long casts up against mangrove shorelines at higher tides or at sandy patches in the grass on the lower tides. When you feel the thump of a fish striking the lure, set the hook firmly and look up. Many snook jump immediately after being hooked. Enjoy the thrill and don't be surprised if some pesky redfish join the party.
Neil Taylor charters kayak fishing trips in the Tampa Bay area and can be reached at adventurekayakfishing.com or (727) 692-6345.