Since the full moon in early June, big breeder snook have shown up in the passes and inlets to spawn. For several weeks prior, most of the snook on the beach had been small males apparently waiting for larger females to arrive from the backwaters. Now the giants are there with some well over 40 inches. These females are often surrounded by swarms of smaller males. On several occasions recently we have witnessed the spawning ritual. During a strong outgoing tide in an inlet, usually late in the day, a big female will rise to the surface escorted by smaller males who rub against and bump the female. Snook season is closed for the summer spawning period so all the fish must be released. Catch and release does not adversely affect them if they are handled properly. To target the big fish sight cast to them as they cruise the edges of the inlets. Often the largest fish school together in a clearly visible pod. The first place we look is around any aberration on the sand bottom. A log, rock pile, of even the shadow of a tree or building may hold them. A variety of baits work, including sardines, grunts, and pinfish but we prefer large threadfin herring. These big "greenies" are a favorite of the big fish and their large size helps eliminate the smaller snook which can become a nuisance when casting directly to a 20 pounder.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at email@example.com or at (727) 944-3474.