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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: snook

Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, 3/7/18, Capt. William Toney

by on Mar.07, 2018, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

A very cool fish that is become a standard and talk around the dock is our Nature Coast snook. A colder than normal January took a toll on the snook population but from the reports of local anglers and guides snook fishing is good. When I was growing up snook were a fish of legends, apparitions up at the Blue Waters. At MacRae’s in Homosassa, Mr Duncan would sell wild shiners for bass anglers but I remember most of them were used for catching snook up the river. So that being said, snook have always been around but I have to say there are more of them now then ever. We can blame it on warmer winters but I believe its our warm fresh water springs that protect them from cold winters, salt water intrusion and conservation. I believe keeping one for diner every now and again is not a big deal if your lucky enough to catch one in the slot. Being lucky enough to experience one rip 40 yards of line off the reel, jump like a tarpon and show it’s bucket mouth while it cuts your leader is better then eating one.
At this time most snook have come from sandy holes on the outside keys, rocky/oyster points near deep drops along channels and the edges of a hole in the back country. Live shrimp, pinfish or D.O.A. glow 5.5 jerk baits will get the bite. The trout bite has moved out to deeper water near the Foul Area and a few Spanish mackerel are mixed in. Incoming high tide will be early morning and very late evening this weekend.

 

Capt. William Toney

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Season opener bite for snook could be hot with warm weather- By Ray Markham

by on Feb.26, 2016, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

The calendar still says winter but this past week might make you think that spring has sprung. Changing weather conditions will dictate what you need to do to stay on feeding fish. I marked water temperatures in a variety of shallow water venues from Old Tampa Bay to Mullet Key that pushed the mercury up over 75-degrees. That’s the kind of water temperature you might see in late March, and what I saw this week could be previews of coming attractions to the Bay Area. Warm shallows turned snook on and pushed Spanish mackerel in on the edges of the Gulf and just inside passes from Charlotte Harbor all the way up to John’s Pass. Next week’s warming trend could make Tuesday’s season opener for snook productive and also trigger a run of both king and Spanish mackerel.

The front that moved in at mid-week is moving quickly and will clear the state in short order, but not without a quick drop in temperature. With air temperatures nudging the 80-degree mark on Tuesday, and the prediction for Wednesday and Thursday to take a steep dip perhaps into the 40’s in the Tampa Bay area, fish will undoubtedly head for deeper water. The shallows of the flats will likely look like a ghost town until water temperatures move back up with next week’s warm up.

Capt. Rick Grassett, of Sarasota, and his anglers have been fishing the Venice area at night with fly rods working dock lights and bridge fenders catching and releasing as many as 20-snook a night. Water temperatures have been in the upper 60’s. Most affected by this quick drop in air and water temperature will be snook, effectively putting a halt to the bite temporarily.

The sheepshead bite has been outrageous this week, coupled with the spawning full moon and the incoming cold front. The bite turned on and fired up sheepies that were reported up to 10-pounds. These monster striped convict fish are cooperative even in cold and inclement weather.

If fresh water is your preference, take a page out of Shelby Bachnik’s book and head for Lake Tarpon. Bachnik has been working the lake in about 10-feet of water with crappie jigs and small minnows, catching good numbers of slab crappie. These freshwater panfish are prized for their tasty white fillets and can be found in lakes like Tarpon that offer some protection from the elements. Bachnik says look for the north end of the lake to be productive.

Capt. Ray Markham specializes in fly and light tackle fishing with artificial lures, charters out of the Tampa Bay area, and may be reached via his website at www.CaptainRayMarkham.com, email at ray.markham@gmail.com, or at (941) 723-2655 for charter.

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Capt. Ray Markham’s Tampa Bay Fishing Forecast, 8/28/15

by on Aug.28, 2015, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

The reopening of snook season next Tuesday, September 1, is a long anticipated event that local anglers have been looking forward to. Whether it’s to take a fish home for dinner, or just to catch and release snook, either way these gamefish are perhaps the top target for the majority of inshore anglers. With redfish schooling all around the bay from Weedon Island to Joe Bay, Terra Ceia, Cockroach Bay, and down to Fort Desoto, anglers will have a good shot at redfish as well as snook. The full moon this Saturday will send tides into a ripping water movement, creating good scenarios for ambush feeders like snook. Work points and structure adjacent to good water flow for best action. As the tide nears the bottom in the afternoon, snook and reds will fall into channels and holes on or adjacent to the flats or passes where they may be located.

Redfish have responded well to cut bait lately. Top baits have been cut pinfish and ladyfish. Live pinfish and scaled sardines have also been go-to live baits, but a live shrimp will work well too, as long as you can give it a twitch on occasion. Most anglers have a tendency to just throw the shrimp out and let it sit. Freelining a shrimp can be deadly effective if you work it more like an artificial lure to cover more water. Reeling it slowly and giving it an occasional twitch will jump it up off the bottom and out of grass to get the red’s attention. You can do the same with live pilchards. Anglers chucking a fish full of live sardines as chum can make both redfish and snook just downright stupid and lose their wariness to anglers. Artificial lures that are working well are the CAL Shad, DOA Shrimp, MirrOlure MirrOdine, Eppinger Rex weedless Spoon, and the MirrOlure Lil’ John.

Snook may still be in the spawning mode on this full moon, and if fish are being released, be sure to handle minimally and with due care for the future of these fish. The slot size remains at 28-to 33-inches on the West Coast with one fish per person per day allowed. A snook stamp is required to possess a snook if you are required to have a license.

Capt. Ray Markham specializes in light tackle fishing with artificial lures, charters out of the Tampa Bay area, and may be reached via his website at www.CaptainRayMarkham.com, email at ray.markham@gmail.com, or at (941) 723-2655 for charter.

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Snook On The Upper Big Bend? You Bet–Provided We Have a Warm Winter!

by on Aug.28, 2015, under Cedar Key, Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, Ozello to Crystal River, Suwannee, Yankeetown and Waccasassa

Warmer winters mean the habitat for snook has moved north, into Levy and Dixie counties.

Warmer winters mean the habitat for snook has moved north, into Levy and Dixie counties.

Snook are probably the most fun and abundant gamefish in Florida.  They run, they jump, and if you want to keep one for dinner during open season, they’re delicious to eat.  However, they’re also highly susceptible to cold water temperatures and are some of the first fish to be found floating dead after a hard winter freeze.  Warm winters in recent years have allowed snook to migrate north from Pinellas and Pasco counties (Tarpon Springs’ Anclote Key was the northern edge of their range for many years.)  Now, with our recent warm winters, snook are regularly being caught well north of the Withlacoochee River in Waccasassa Bay and even as far north at Suwannee’s Salt Creek.

snook-1

A Yankeetown snook.

Snook are ambush feeders, and prey on small fish (mullet, pinfish and sardines) as well as crustaceans (crabs and shrimp).  They will also readily attack artificial lures like the D.O.A. shrimp or slow-sinking MirrOlure Catch 2000s.  Rigging is important, with stealthy knots (Homer Rhode or Uni Knots work well) and tough, invisible fluorocarbon leader (24-30#) a “must”.  An interesting fact about snook is that they are picky about their prey.  If you’re using live fish for bait, don’t rig them like you do for redfish (through the back or tail) but hook them through their lips.  Snook attack from behind!    And they prefer fast-moving water, especially when it’s washing baits off shallow flats or bars into deeper troughs.

In 2015/2016, Gulf Snook “season” runs from September 1, 2015 to February 29, 2016 and from May 1 to August 31, 2016.  While you’re allowed to keep one snook per day, anglers are urged to have fun and release fish they catch.  Just remember–one cold winter and the snook will again head south and away from our Big Bend waters!

Complete information about snook and other saltwater gamefish species can be found at www.myfwc.com/fishing

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Snook Reopens March 1, 2015 in Florida Gulf Waters

by on Feb.25, 2015, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

The recreational harvest season for one of Florida’s premier fish, snook, reopens on March 1 in Florida’s Gulf of Mexico state and adjacent federal waters, including Everglades National Park and Monroe County. The season will remain open through April 30. In the Gulf, anglers may keep one snook per day that is not less than 28 or more than 33 inches total length, which is measured from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed while the fish is lying on its side. A snook permit is required to keep snook, along with a saltwater fishing license unless exempt from the license requirements. Only hook-and-line gear is allowed when targeting or harvesting snook. It is illegal to buy or sell snook. Snook are one of the many reasons Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World.
The FWC encourages anglers to use moderation when determining whether or not to take a snook home during the open season. When choosing to release a fish, the FWC encourages anglers to handle it carefully to help the fish survive upon release. Proper handling methods can help ensure the species’ abundance for anglers today and generations to come. To learn more about fish handling, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Fish Handling.” Researchers ask anglers who harvest the fish to save the carcasses after the meat is filleted and provide the carcasses to the FWC by dropping them off at a participating bait and tackle store. These donations allow researchers to better determine the age groups that are being harvested, which makes stock assessments more precise. For a county-by-county list, go to MyFWC.com/Research and click on “Saltwater,” “Saltwater Fish,” “Snook” and “Snook Anglers Asked to Help with Research.” In Atlantic state and federal waters (including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River) the season is open through May 31, and one snook may be kept per person, per day. The size limit in Atlantic waters is no less than 28 inches total length and no more than 32 inches total length. For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snook.” -
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Snook to reopen in Gulf state waters, March 1, 2014

by on Feb.25, 2014, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

The recreational harvest season for one of Florida’s premier game fish, snook, reopens on March 1 in Florida’s Gulf of Mexico state and adjacent federal waters, including Everglades National Park and Monroe County. The season will remain open through April 30.
In the Gulf, anglers may keep one snook per day that is not less than 28 or more than 33 inches total length, which is measured from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed while the fish is lying on its side. A snook permit is required to keep snook, along with a saltwater fishing license unless exempt from the license requirements. Only hook-and-line gear is allowed when targeting or harvesting snook.
It is illegal to buy or sell snook.
Snook are one of the many reasons Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World. The FWC encourages anglers to use moderation when determining whether or not to take a snook home, even during the open season. When choosing to release a fish, the FWC encourages anglers to handle it carefully to help the fish survive upon release. Proper handling methods can help ensure the species’ abundance for anglers today and generations to come. To learn more about fish handling, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Fish Handling.”

Researchers ask anglers who harvest the fish to save their filleted carcasses and provide them to the FWC by dropping them off at a participating bait and tackle store. These donations allow researchers to better determine the age groups that are being harvested, which makes stock assessments more precise. For the county-by-county list, go to MyFWC.com/Research and click on “Saltwater,” “Saltwater Fish,” “Snook,” and “Snook Anglers Asked to Help with Research.”
In Atlantic state and federal waters (including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River) the season is open through May 31, and one snook may be kept per person, per day. The size limit in Atlantic waters is no less than 28 inches total length and no more than 32 inches total length.
For more information visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snook.”

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Snook harvest seasonal closure in Gulf starts Dec. 1, 2013

by on Nov.25, 2013, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

The recreational harvest season for snook closes Dec. 1 in Gulf state and federal waters, including Monroe County and Everglades National Park, and will remain closed through Feb. 28, 2014, reopening to harvest March 1, 2014. Snook can continue to be caught and released during the closed season.
This and other regular season closures are designed to help protect the species during vulnerable times such as cold weather. Atlantic state and federal waters including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River will close Dec. 15 through Jan. 31, 2014, reopening to harvest Feb. 1, 2014.
Visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing” and “Recreational Regulations” for more information on snook.

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The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

by on Oct.02, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Dunedin, Clearwater and Largo, Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Marco and The 10,000 Islands, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Naples, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, St. Pete Beaches, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, The Sunshine Skyway and Beyond to Egmont, Upper Charlotte Harbor

The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

It’s been a long time coming, but the University Press of Florida has just released my second fishing book.  If you’re a native and wanting more information on the Gulf of Mexico coastline from Chassahowitzka to Chokoloskee, you need this book.  If you’re planning to winter in Florida, you need this book.  Everyone needs this book. The Table of Contents is outlined below.

To order, simply click on the link on the sidebar to the right of this page and you’ll be taken to Amazon.com.  Thanks–and enjoy!

Part One–The Destinations

1.  Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida

2.  The Upper Suncoast-Hernando and Pasco Counties

3.  Tarpon Springs and North Pinellas County

4.  St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Peninsula

5.  Old Tampa Bay, Tampa and The Bay’s Eastern Shore

6.  Manatee and Sarasota Counties-The Gateway to Tropical Florida

7.  Charlotte Harbor and Her Gulf Islands

8.  Fort Myers, Estero, Sanibel and Captiva

9.  Naples, Marco and The Ten Thousand Islands

Part Two–Practical Matters

10. It’s All About The Fish…

11. …And How to Catch Them

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Snook to remain closed for another year in Gulf waters: FWC Rules on 8/28/12

by on Jun.28, 2012, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted to keep the recreational harvest of snook in Gulf of Mexico waters closed for another year to offer the species additional protection after a 2010 cold kill detrimentally affected the population.

The decision came at the June 28 Commission meeting in Palm Beach Gardens after staff presented an updated stock assessment that showed snook populations are improving in the Atlantic and are not in biological jeopardy in the Gulf. The next assessment is due in 2015.

“If we have a bad winter this year, we will benefit from this caution; if we don’t have a bad winter, we will let all these breeding fish come through the slot,” said Vice Chairman Kenneth Wright, referring to the snook slot limit of 28 to 33 inches in Gulf of Mexico waters. “We’ll really have done something good and we’ll have protected some of these fish.”

The recreational snook season was closed in Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic waters by executive order on Jan.16, 2010, after the cold kill. The FWC manages snook in both state and federal waters, though the species tends to inhabit the shallower, near-shore state waters. The effects of the cold kill were less severe on the Atlantic coast, where the normal season reopened for harvest Sept. 1, 2011.

The Gulf of Mexico recreational season was to reopen Sept. 1, 2012, and now is expected to reopen Sept. 1, 2013. Catch-and-release of snook will be allowed during the closure. In the Atlantic, the season will remain unchanged. Annual closures in the Atlantic are from Dec. 15 through Jan. 31 and from June 1 through Aug. 31.

There is no commercial harvest for snook in Florida.

Snook are one of Florida’s premier game fish, and anglers often practice catch-and-release techniques when targeting this species. When planning to release snook, proper handling techniques ensure the best chance of survival. This includes returning the fish to the water as quickly as possible; using wet hands to handle the fish; supporting its weight in a horizontal position when the fish is out of the water; not holding the fish by the gill plate, eye or jaw; and reviving the fish if necessary by running it through the water head-first to allow water to flow over its gills.

Learn more about snook by visiting MyFWC.com/Fishing and clicking on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snook.”

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Raymond James Boca Grande Classic Fishing Tournament, May 2-4, 2012

by on Mar.06, 2012, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

This should be fun!  This Redbone Event will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and will be headquartered at the famous Gasparilla Inn & Club near Boca Grande.  For information, contact Jennifer Buchanan, Jbuchanan@cff.org or (954) 739-5006

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