One of the great things about Florida is the Salt Life. In our area, we are fortunate to be able to enjoy the Gulf of Mexico in a variety of ways. For some of us, recreational fishing brings pleasure, relaxation, fun with friends and family and we get to put some fine seafood on the table at the end of the day. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Snook are one of the many reasons Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World. Among the many other great catches to be had, Snook make excellent table fare.
Unique to the region, Snook orient themselves to face moving water and wait for prey to be carried down the current. Snook jump clear of the water, and burst into long runs. Fishing for Snook can be challenging and loads of fun! The recreational harvest season for Snook opens on September 1st statewide, with the exception of state waters from the Pasco-Hernando county line south to Gordon Pass in Collier County. These waters remain closed to harvest due to impacts from a severe red tide in 2018.
As most of you know, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation provides guidance to those of us that like to harvest wild fish and game which allows us to keep our precious and delicate ecosystems in balance. A snook permit, as well as a recreational saltwater license, is required to harvest snook unless the angler is exempt from the recreational license requirements.
If you plan to get out there, use live pinfish, small mullet, shrimp, or sardines free-lined or fished off the bottom with a fish finder rig. Snook take a large variety of lures based on water conditions. But, beware of the snook’s razor-sharp gill covers and use proper handling methods when releasing snook to help ensure the fish’s survival and the species’ abundance for anglers today and generations to come. To learn more about catch-and-release and the best way to handle a fish, visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on “Recreational Regulations” and “Fish Handling Tips.”
Here’s some basic features of Snook
- Large mouth with a protruding lower jaw
- Jaw reaches below the rear portion of the eye
- Sloping forehead
- High dorsal fin that is divided
- Black lateral line extends onto tail
- Pelvic fin yellow in color
And here’s something cool to know: Researchers are asking 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. For the county-by-county list, go to https://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/fish/snook/anglers-help/. These carcasses provide biological data, including the size, age, maturity and sex of the catch. This information is important to the FWC in completing stock assessments.
Anglers can also report and record their catch data by using the Angler Action Foundation’s iAngler app.
Please help protect our Salt Life. If you see a fishery violation, call the Wildlife Alert Program at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
For more information including bag and size limits visit https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/snook/.
We’d love to see pictures of your catch! Post those to our Instagram account at https://www.instagram.com/thisishernando/
and have fun!