Snook fishing has been weather-dependent lately. When the cold fronts pass through and water temperatures fall, the fish disappear. Conversely, when winds die down and the water warms, snook have been reappearing quickly. Another factor to early spring snook success is the availability of scaled sardines. The bait has been mostly unavailable the past several months due primarily to low water temperatures. Recently, however, small pockets of this prized flats-fishing bait have appeared on the warmest days. If you're lucky to find the bait on a warm day, snook fishing can be great. On calm mornings, the fish can often be seen sitting on the surface. They're are easily spooked at this time so keeping the boat as far away as possible is important. One of the best approaches is to rig a live sardine on a free-lining rig and hook it toward the tail behind the dorsal fin. Gently toss the bait in the direction you want him to go. If you fling it hard, it will tear off on the cast. When the bait swims in the desired direction, feed line out. If it goes the wrong way, apply a little pressure or give it a slight tug. This turns the minnow's head away from you and eventually you can train him to travel where you want. Using this technique makes it possible to "walk" a bait into a quiet area from much farther away than casting.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at (727) 944-3474.