The first day of summer had arrived, and along with it, some of the best inshore snook fishing to be experienced in Southwest Florida. Snook are most active during the warm summer months, so this was the ideal time to introduce one of my best girlfriends, Bekah Miller, to the sport of snook fishing. Although Bekah hadn’t fished in over 25 years and had never touched a saltwater rod, I knew she loved the outdoors. This was all the incentive I needed to get her out on the water.
We drove the flats boat out to a secluded mangrove area near the lower part of the Caloosahatchee River and baited our lines with live threadfins. After repeatedly casting near the shoreline over the course of a two-hour period (and missing a few good hits due to angler error), we closed out the trip by catching and releasing four respectable snook in the 28″ to 33″ range (snook are catch and release only in the Gulf of Mexico region until September 1st as per Florida state recreational regulations). Bekah had been officially initiated into the saltwater snook club while picking up valuable knowledge that she could apply on her next outing.
Here are four of the most important lessons Bekah learned on her first snook trip:
Always be sure to check the drag on your reel before fishing. If the drag is set too tight, the line can easily break under stress. If the drag is set too loose, you won’t tire the fish out or gain any line.
Pay attention to where your line is at all times. Keep the line away from the sides of the boat, trolling motor, and anchor line. If you have difficulty seeing your line in the water, try using some of the yellow or blue braided lines now on the market.
Don’t allow slack in your line. Snook are fast and hard fighters, they will take any opportunity to throw the hook. Slack in the line will allow the hook to become easily dislodged.
Don’t set the hook when using saltwater circle hooks. Circle hooks are great for catch and release, and are designed to set themselves in the corner of the fish’s mouth. When the fish takes the bait, just reel using a steady motion.
Have you ever lost a fish because you forgot to keep one of these lessons in mind? Share your story and words of wisdom with us!
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