Everglades Fly Fishing Charters
Everglades & 10,000 Islands Fly Fishing and Light Tackle Charters • Captain Buddy Ferber • (239) 298-3863

Everglades Snook: Acrobatic fish that put up a fight

If you hook a snook, every second will be action-packed.

P8260039These fish are strong, fast and incredibly acrobatic. I’ve been left breathless and bewildered after battling with snook. But after giving my head a quick shake, I just get back to throwing those tight loops beneath the foliage in the hopes of getting into another thrilling battle with a linesider.

What you should know about Snook

  • There are five different species in Florida: Tarpon Snook, Swordspine Snook, Fat Snook, Mexican Snook and the Common Snook.
  • The International Game Fish Association world record for the largest Snook weighed 53 pounds 10 ounces. It was caught in Costa Rica.
  • The Florida all line class tippet is 44 pounds 3 ounces, with the IGFA fly rod record being 30 pounds 4 ounces, taken near Chokoloskee, Florida.
  • Snook can live in fresh or saltwater, but they must go to saltwater to spawn in the summer.
  • Snook can reach up to 20 years old and they primarily feed on small fish and crustaceans

In 2010, freezing temperatures devastated the snook population in the Everglades. Fortunately, these fish recovered over the past few years and the government re-opened the fishery on the Gulf Coast.  During the open season, an angler can now keep one snook per day that measures between 28 and 33 inches.  Sorry, I practice catch and release only.

everglades-fly-fishing61Once I had my first encounter with a large snook, I realized that southwest Florida is where I wanted to be!  Afterwards, I moved forward with the purchase of a new flats boat, kayaks, larger rods, larger reels, bigger flies and quieter shoes.

Great spots for fishing snook

Casting in under the mangrove trees is very effective.  I’ve also found that catching Snook by sight casting in shallow bays, shoals, or from the beaches is an absolutely thrilling way to fish them and makes it much easier to land these strong and acrobatic fish.

While exploring the Everglades and 10,000 Islands, I’ve found many spectacular spots for sight-casting from beaches – the best time to target them on the beach is in spring, summer, and early fall.

There’s one beach in particular that I’d love to take you to. After anchoring and wading to shore, we’ll start sight casting to passing snook and redfish.  It’s a fun-yet-challenging experience that’s perfect for anglers who don’t mind getting a little wet.

Recommended tackle for snook

When it comes to fly selection, generally I recommend using impressionistic flies. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Enrico Puglisi’s Back Country Baitfish
  • Finger Mullet
  • Everglades Minnow
  • Peanut Bunker (Butter)
  • Robert Popovic’s Ultra Shrimp
  • Clouser Minnows
  • Mangrove Muddlers
  • Gurglers
  • Deer Hair Sliders
  • Seducers

Selecting the right size is the easy part (go with #4 through 2/0), but it’s a little trickier when it comes to colors. I suggest using light flies on bright days, and darker flies on cloudy days or at night.

Winter is the perfect time for clear-water sight casting. This is when the snook are offshore or up the creeks and lakes in the backcountry.

A few years back I hooked a snook that I guessed to be more than 20 pounds while fishing near a small creek mouth deep in the backcountry. It was an intense battle of tug-of-war, ending with the snook winning. I remember the moment like it was yesterday!  One lucky cast in the right place, at the right time, can leave you with a memory that’s never forgotten!

And it’s exactly the type of experience I want you to have!

Everglades Snook: Acrobatic fish that put up a fight August 13, 2014

Let’s Go Fishing!

Captain Buddy Ferber
(239) 298-3863