Snook (Centropomus undecimalis)
The Snook is one of Florida’s most premier inshore game fish due to its incredible strength and fighting ability. Common snook can be identified by their distinct sloping forehead, concave snout, elongated body, and protruding lower jaw. It has a brownish black color on its back that fades to a silver color on the side and bottom of the fish. The most prominent visual trait is a black lateral line that extends into the caudal fin. During spawning season they can have a bright yellow pelvic and caudal fins. If you catch a large snook, chances are its a female. The females grow much larger than the males reaching sizes of up to 55 inches and weighing as much as 50 pounds. The largest snook ever caught in Florida was 44 pounds. They are great eating fish that cannot be bought at stores making them highly sought after. In Florida, they breed twice a year once from June until July and then again from August to October. Other names for common snook include sergeant fish or robalo. The oldest Snook ever caught in Florida was 18 years old but they can live up to 20 years.
How to catch Snook in Miami
The best way to catch snook is by freelining a live shrimp or sardine against the current and letting the bait drift into position. They like to hide behind large structures and orient themselves toward the current and wait for prey to swim by. When you hook a snook get ready for a strong fight as they usually jump out of the water to try and unhook themselves. Once you land your trophy snook be careful handling them as they have razor-sharp gill covers that can slice up your hand if not handled correctly.
Where to fish for Snook
Common snook can be found around docks, bridges, mangroves shorelines, seagrass beds, beaches, and inlet jetties near submerged rocks. If your fishing the bridge you can find them along fenders, cement bases as well as pilings. They hang out behind structures in order to conserve energy and snatch any fish, crab, or shrimp that swims by.
Best time of the year for Miami Snook fishing
**Snook are pelagic feeders. Daily feeding peaks occur 2 hours before sunrise and 2 to 3 hours after sunset. Their feeding behavior is affected by the tidal cycle, and feeding activity noticeably increases with an increase in water flow following a period of standing flood or ebb tides**
The best bait to catch Snook
The best bait to catch a Snook is live shrimp but they also eat pinfish, small mullet, or sardines. They are pelagic feeders that primarily feed on other pelagic fish but their diet varies depending on their environment. They also take a large variety of fishing lures.
Florida Snook fishing regulations
Snook season in the Atlantic begins on June 1- August 31st and then opens up again in December until January 31st. In the Gulf, the season starts on May 1 through August 31st and then opens up again from December 1st until the end of February. In the Atlantic, they must be more than 28 inches and cannot exceed 32 inches. For the gulf coast, they must be at least 28 inches and cannot be larger than 33 inches. The bag limit for both the Atlantic and the Gulf is one per person. Regulations apply in state and also in adjacent federal waters. Commercial fishing and selling of Snook are illegal. If you charter a fishing trip it is strictly catch and release. The benefit of going on a Snook fishing charter in Miami is that you can learn how to catch them and then go on your own to catch and keep them. You cannot catch snook with any other method besides hook and line. Spearfishing or netting is strictly prohibited. If you catch a snook that has a tag on it you must record the tag number, total length, date, and location of where you caught the fish to the Angler Tag Return Hotline at 1 (800) 367-4461 or [email protected]. When you report it you should include your name, address, phone number, and T-shirt size so you can get a free T-shirt in the mail. If you decide to release the fish you should not remove the tag but if you keep it the tag should be mailed to Attn: Snook Tag – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission – Fish and Wildlife Research Institute – Attention: Snook Tag – 100 8th Avenue SE – St. Petersburg, FL 33701-5020. You can obtain a license from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission by going online, calling or going to a bait and tackle shop. In order to catch Snook, you must also have a Snook permit added to your fishing license.