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Friday, March 07, 2008


go flat: If you prefer to keep the stock hooks on your plugs, flatten the barbs. You'll lose a fish occasionally, but not as many as you may think. (Most fish throw the hook due the angler letting slack form in the line, not due to the lack of a barb). The advantages: you won't kill or hurt another fish by trying to wrestle out a stubborn hook, and you won't have to worry about a trip to the emergency room if you hook yourself or a fishing partner.

high and low: When fishing shorelines from a boat, have the angler in the bow throw a topwater lure, and the angler in the stern throw a jig or other sub-surface lure. Snook are well known for "buzzing" lures, but not hitting them. A subsurface lure will often get smacked once a topwater lure has gotten their attention.

skip your way to snook: Along shorelines, snook move farther back into the roots as the tide rises, where they can be hard to reach. With practice, you can learn to "skip" your baits under overhanging mangrove branches, much like you'd skip a stone across a pond. Though baitcasters are standard fare for fishing Florida's shorelines, a medium-heavy spinning rod (for pulling power) is actually the best bet when using this technique, as baitcasters have a tendency to backlash in this situation.

avoid the bright lights: When fishing lights at night, run your plugs along the dark edges of a lights perimeter, not directly under it. You want snook to instinctively strike your lure, not examine it.

humane hooks: Taking all but the back treble hooks off can give many plugs a much more lively action. That's a big advantage when your target is snook, since they often seem to respond to lively presentations. You'll miss some fish that a lure with a full set of treble hooks would snare, but not as many as you might imagine. And it's much safer on the fish you're going to release.

stay slick: If you remove hooks from your hollow topwater plugs to improve their action, be sure to fill the holes left by the removed hooks with epoxy. If you don't, they'll get waterlogged and lose their newfound action. Some anglers use fingernail polish to fill in smaller nicks and scratches.

less is more: Try substituting single hooks for treble hooks on your favorite topwater plugs. Though some plugs are designed to be perfectly balanced with their stock hooks in place, the action of others can be improved by the reduced friction of a single hook. Needless to say, single hooks make the process of releasing fish much easier.

little lures, big results: Many folks believe that big lures are needed to catch big fish, but that's not necessarily true. Some of my biggest snook have come on smaller lures and lighter line. Sure, it's harder to hook and catch a big fish on light line, but it's much more fun, and they're definitely more likely to fall for a more subtle presentation. This increase in hookups can make your trips more exciting than throwing an oversize lure all day with only a few strikes.

cold casting: When the barometer drops, snook flock inland, seeking refuge and warmth in residential canals, creeks, bays and the like. Depending on the duration of cold fronts and fluctuations in water temperature, they can often be found in deep, calm water that maintains warmer temperatures longer than the shallows. Try fishing residential docks later in the day when the sun is high, especially those which have been deeply dredged to accommodate a large boat. If you're fishing the backcountry, try deep, undercut banks. Fish a sub-surface offering such as a jig or weighted softbait, bumping it slowly across the bottom.


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