I have four pieces of advice for those looking to pick up Florida’s famous beach babes.
And for clarity, I’m talking about snook; specifically, the big females that stage on coastal beaches for their summer spawn. Anyone who’s seen these beauties up close know exactly why we put in the time, effort, and mind work needed to make such introductions.
Shimmering silver figures accented by pale yellow fins and dark black racing stripes tracing the lateral lines make snook one of the Sunshine State’s most photogenic inshore residents.
Complement the looks with tremendous power and an indomitable fighting spirit and the snook’s attraction stands clear.
If you have your eye on one of these line-sided stunners, here’s what you need to know:
1. Go with the flow
Snook eggs must remain buoyant for a few days to fully develop, so beaches closest to coastal passes typically see the biggest concentrations of spawning females. These spots guarantee tidal flushing.
2. They’re moon movers
Snook may spawn anytime throughout the summer, but the stronger tides of new and full moon cycles stimulate the major activity.
3. Stick near the beach
Beach snook anglers often wade to minimize their profile. Biggest mistake most make is fishing too deep. Chances are if the water’s over your waist, the fish are behind you.
Your best bet is to actually walk on the sand and cast at a slightly diagonal angle to work baits through that first beach trough. From a boat, ease in as close as possible (without risking getting beached) and cast right up the water’s edge. Often, snook will swim so shallow their fins break the surface.
4. Give a gentle goodbye
Big fish, hot summer water—that’s the recipe for exhaustion, so take care to properly revive your beach snook prior to release. These fish will give you all the fight you want and most will slide into your reach pretty spent.
Hold your snook by the firm, toothless lower jaw and lead it through the shallows to wash oxygen over its gills. With larger snook, use both hands to support the fish while it recharges the batteries.
When a snook’s ready to go, you’ll usually feel the fish clamping down on your thumb—and you’ll get a face full of water as that gorgeous gal heads back to her beach hangout.
A smile of appreciation, and a wish for a future meeting—that’s how it usually ends.