What's hot: Catch-and-release snook action is very hot. Closed to harvest, these fish are congregating for the spawn all over the gulf. Smaller males about 20 inches long are less prevalent than the much larger females.
Tackle and targeting: Medium-heavy spinning tackle with 3 feet of 25-pound fluorocarbon shock leader is open-water snook gear. For fishing around bridges, docks and other obstructions, a heavier rod and reel with a 40-pound fluorocarbon leader is necessary.
Troughs in the vicinity of the gulf passes are great places to intercept snook. Areas with decent to strong current that hold "disturbed mullet" are ideal feed stations for large snook. For daylight snook fishing, choose a strong-running tide coupled with a solunar major or minor period.
Sundown and nighttime snook fishing are often more reliable. This nocturnal species often feeds for longer periods after the sun has set. Listen for snook to tip off their location as they violently bash baitfish on the surface.
Handling suggestions: Implementing a handling plan for snook helps them survive. If you want a photo, revive the fish immediately after it is caught, leaving it in the water until the camera is ready. Lift the fish up horizontally, supporting its midsection long enough to get the photo, then get it back in the water.
Neil Taylor charters kayak fishing trips in the Tampa Bay area and can be reached at adventurekayakfishing.com or (727) 692-6345.