The recreational snook season in the Gulf of Mexico is closed beginning today, but May is one of the best months of the year to catch them.
These fish must be released until the season reopens Sept. 1.
Snook will school in local passes and along the beaches for their annual spawn. Some of the best passes in the Pinellas and Pasco counties are Hurricane Pass and the pass between the north end of Anclote Key and the north sandbar. These fish also gather along the beaches of Anclote Key, Three Rooker Bar and Honeymoon Island.
Location: During this time of year the water along the beaches is pretty clear, which makes spotting schools of snook easier. Go slow when looking for these schools; sometimes the fish will lie in the deeper drop-offs, and other times they will be right up on the edge of the beach in a foot of water. To avoid spooking the school, use the trolling motor or a push pole, if you have one.
Best baits: During the summer spawn you can still catch these snook using the same type baits used the rest of the year — live whitebait, pinfish, threadfins, and live shad. You can also catch them on all types of artificial lures, such as jigs, topwater plugs and crankbaits.
Here is one trick for catching those monster linesiders: Catch fresh mullet, cut the head off and fish the bottom for that snook of a lifetime.
Mike Manning runs Action Fishing Adventures out of Tarpon Springs. Call him toll-free at 1-800-644-5940.