Snookin’

HammerheadTedHammerheadTed OfficerPosts: 1,254 Officer

With the recent opening of Snook season, it’s time for my periodic plea to consider releasing Snook. Slot Snook in our area are between 8 and 12 years old. That’s a lot of winters to survive along with all the other dangers that this very slow growing but spectacular fish faces, just to get to slot size. This 41” beast could be over 14 years old. Our Snook regs are made up to maintain the SW Florida Snook fishery and don’t take winter kills into account, or even input from our fishery at all. If properly released Snook survival is well over 95%. Especially large fish need patience when releasing. Hold them by the tail and move them in a swimming motion till they kick out of your hand. They will hold on to your thumb, but I’ve found that really large fish don’t follow that method as well. Most slot Reds are only 2 years old, a few are 3, plus they are more abundant and unaffected by cold water. This is a much better fish to harvest. Thanks for considering my post. 

Replies

  • THINKICANTHINKICAN Officer Homosassa, FLPosts: 517 Officer
    Agree!  
    SO WHEN IS THIS "OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER" SUPPOSED TO KICK IN?
  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet Captain TallahasseePosts: 3,723 Captain
    Great snuke, thanks for posting 
    You should have been here yesterday
  • permit_mepermit_me Officer Posts: 1,031 Officer
    very nice fish. and agreed. Have not harvested a snook in 10 yrs, not that i catch a whole lot of them. They do seem to be rebounding well. South of Hernando they are closed for the next year, a good thing.  Its amazing what the snook, reds and trout closure has done down Anclote way, already notice the stocks rebounding well.



  • xmuskyguidexmuskyguide Captain Beautiful HomosassaPosts: 1,642 Captain
    Nice fish. Snook are exciting around the mangroves.  I don't care for eating red fish but upper and over slot ones are fun to catch.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • nicknick Captain Crystal RiverPosts: 4,817 Captain
    edited September 5 #6
    Idk. 

    I see 500+ up in the shallows a day with lockjaw. Lots of them are slot. I very rarely keep fish personally. But I do keep 2-3 slot snook a year. Like the grumpy crab man in ozello says redfish are meant for crab bait and not eating. 🤣

    Will say there has definitely been a drop in the # of under 20” fish after the freeze year before last. Used to catch a ton of them throwing plastics. Those little guys are fun. 

    Sit up at the spillways in YT and watch people haul off coolers of them regardless of season or size. FWC doesn’t care. 
  • HammerheadTedHammerheadTed Officer Posts: 1,254 Officer
    I fish primarily for overslot Snook with artificials. This year and last since the freeze kill I’ve caught about 1/2 of the large fish I’ve caught in the previous 4 years. I’ve caught more slot fish, percentage wise, than other years. There is nothing wrong with keeping a legal fish you caught, I am just trying to point out the challenges our Snook fishery faces and asking people to consider releasing them. That good meal is only a couple years from being a great memory to someone, mabey several people. After the 2010 freeze which affected the Snook in SW Florida, Snook was closed for 2 years. After our freeze kill a couple years ago there was no reaction by FWC because our area is not considered or managed in ANY WAY. I fish regularly with 5 other Snook fishermen and none of us keep any ever. As far as Reds go, if you cut off the red meat, they are tasty and not fishy or strong. 
  • xmuskyguidexmuskyguide Captain Beautiful HomosassaPosts: 1,642 Captain
    I'm sure most of us know to cut off the dark meat. It's just a matter of taste. I like shark and most guys on the forum don't. I fish for reds and snook for fun and then stop on the way in and catch some whiting for dinner. 
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • nicknick Captain Crystal RiverPosts: 4,817 Captain
    I fished Wac a week after that freeze. There was a dead snook every 3 foot on the bank for miles. Didn’t realize there were that many up there. 

    Good news is the ones that survive the freezes pass on those genes to the next generation. Further extending their range. 

    I was fishing a 48 degree creek last winter and the snook were darting around the mangroves like it was summer. I figured they’d be dead at 48. In 30 years snook fishing in Stein will be off the chain!
  • fishingstickmanfishingstickman Greenhorn Citrus CountyPosts: 5 Greenhorn
     We still catch a whole lot 16- 20 inch ones up in the woods, i usually use a single hook on all my hard baits to make for a quick release. like everything they react to fishing pressure and the big schools on the outside have been getting hammered more. Most of the guys I run into that are targeting Snook are really good about Catch and release and  understand the gift we have here.  i try not to fight one too long when its hot out and never take it out of the water,  I
    have seen tourist let them bounce on the deck  or drag them up on the beach and lay in the sand while they go look for pliers, and destroy the fish pulling hooks out. That makes me crazy.

    We fished down in Longboat last month and still caught a lot of slot snook, We were down there last year for the red tide and it was shocking to see the thousands of dead ones .I thought it would take years to recover and they were still in the usual spots and that place gets 100 times the pressure we do, I mean you watch guys take turns poling around around the same groups of mangroves and hundreds of kayaks everywhere.    I think the same thing nick does, they adapt or find one of the hundreds of creeks with little springs, ours just act a little different to the ones i fish for south.
     
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Captain Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,482 Captain
    Good news is the ones that survive the freezes pass on those genes to the next generation. Further extending their range. 

    That's not quite how it works, Nick.  Snook are a tropical species that has evolved for optimal performance in warm water.  The genes required for that preclude cold water adaptation.  If natural selection was moving in the direction of better cold water survival, there would be snook all the way up the east coast by now.  

    The reason that some snook survive freezes while others don't has to do with chance and location. When a lethal temperature is reached, the population starts to die.  But they don't all die at once.  So some would be expected to survive due to chance alone. The rate of temperature change is also important. Under conditions of a slow cool down fish can temporarily adapt to temperatures that would be lethal during a sudden drop.  It's the fish that get caught in shallow water that get hit the hardest. These are mostly the smaller fish. There are lots of places (dark bottom, deep holes, springs) that afford thermal protection during freezes.  These limited spots are mostly occupied by the larger fish.  While some big fish are lost during any freeze, the do better than the smaller ones.  Whole year classes of smaller fish can be wiped out resulting in populations with unusual size distributions.  This is normal in species living at the edges of their temperature ranges.

    Maybe over evolutionary time (hundreds of thousands of years) snook might change into a species that can survive cooler temperatures.  But not in our lifetimes.  It's milder winters with less frequent freezes that are allowing them to extend their range. 
  • finbullyfinbully Officer Posts: 663 Officer
    Really better to leave the fish in the water than take it out to pose for a picture if you are serious about delayed mortality.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 AG Posts: 10,378 AG
    Yep, was unusual to catch a snook here 25 years ago unless you fished up in the springs.
    We ever get back to normal winters there won't be a snook from New York Richey north except in the Fishbowl or swimming around the mermaids.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • nicknick Captain Crystal RiverPosts: 4,817 Captain
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Captain Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,482 Captain
    I used to crush the dreams of my students on a regular basis.  >:)
  • nicknick Captain Crystal RiverPosts: 4,817 Captain
    So basically eat as many as you can before they freeze to death and become vulture food!
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Captain Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,482 Captain
    No. I just mean that the snook aren't changing.  It's the climate that's changing.

    I think the regs do a good job in protecting snook.  There are no data, but I would guess that the C&R mortality, despite good survival rates, exceeds the number of slot fish that are kept each season. 
  • HammerheadTedHammerheadTed Officer Posts: 1,254 Officer
    edited September 7 #18
    Disagree. There are no regs for the Snook fishery here. Other than the red tide ban, the Snook regs are for the west coast based on data from SW Florida. There are specific regs for Reds, trout and others specific to our area. Even though we have a freeze kill to some extent every year, there is no consideration given to seasons. If Naples is good, we are good. From someone who spends a lot of time fishing for Snook, I have seen a difference after our last severe freeze. If our fishery is in good shape, it’s by happenstance, not by proper regulation. 
  • xmuskyguidexmuskyguide Captain Beautiful HomosassaPosts: 1,642 Captain
    Perhaps no regs specifically directed at our area but the slot limit is a very effective method of insuring a healthy population. The one redfish limit is totally unjustified for our area, even though I don't care to keep them. 
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 AG Posts: 10,378 AG
    There is no data benchmark to compare on our region as there is no historical ebook population. 
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • HammerheadTedHammerheadTed Officer Posts: 1,254 Officer
    edited September 7 #21
    If slot limit is effective by itself, why was Snook harvest banned for 2 years after 2010 freeze. Because Snook died in Naples. We have one of varying severity every year. Until there is interest in compiling  data and comprehensive regulations are formed, its up to us sportsmen to regulate things, each by his own compass, I guess. 
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 AG Posts: 10,378 AG
    Again, snook are not a historical catch north of the Pithlachottee (spelling?) River.
    Are snook here to stay?
    I don't know and not wishing any ill will on the snook population but I miss our colder winters,  I like to see oysters fat in November an trout all up to the heads of the eastern most creeks.

    I'll trade every snook for some decent hunting weather and flocks of ducks for Thanksgiving. 

    That's just me, that snook don't mean much in my book.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • xmuskyguidexmuskyguide Captain Beautiful HomosassaPosts: 1,642 Captain
    If slot limit is effective by itself, why was Snook harvest banned for 2 years after 2010 freeze. Because Snook died in Naples. We have one of varying severity every year. Until there is interest in compiling  data and comprehensive regulations are formed, its up to us sportsmen to regulate things, each by his own compass, I guess. 
    The slot limit maintains the population under normal circumstances, along with closed seasons. Exceptional circumstances called for an additional measure. Releasing a few fish is unlikely to affect fish populations. 
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • GlennGlenn Captain GeorgiaPosts: 1,724 Captain
    Always love how someone tries to push their own agenda down someone’s throat.

    If I catch a legal Snook and I want to take it back to visit some hot grease...then I’m gonna take it home.

    Plenty of fish out there for you to catch and release. 
  • HammerheadTedHammerheadTed Officer Posts: 1,254 Officer
    If slot limit is effective by itself, why was Snook harvest banned for 2 years after 2010 freeze. Because Snook died in Naples. We have one of varying severity every year. Until there is interest in compiling  data and comprehensive regulations are formed, its up to us sportsmen to regulate things, each by his own compass, I guess. 
    The slot limit maintains the population under normal circumstances, along with closed seasons. Exceptional circumstances called for an additional measure. Releasing a few fish is unlikely to affect fish populations. 
    You are making my point for me. There are no exceptional circumstances for our Snook, ever. If Naples would have had our freeze winter before last, Snook would be closed for 2 years right now. Just trying to show the challenges our Snook face and the many years to maturity. If you want to keep it, your choice. There is no other fish that so many people pursue for fun only. 
  • HammerheadTedHammerheadTed Officer Posts: 1,254 Officer
    Glenn said:
    Always love how someone tries to push their own agenda down someone’s throat.

    If I catch a legal Snook and I want to take it back to visit some hot grease...then I’m gonna take it home.

    Plenty of fish out there for you to catch and release. 
    You evidently have trouble comprehending my posts. Always said it’s your choice. Maybe don’t read the thread if you think it’s being used to jam something down your throat. I want to know as much as I can about my sport and practice what I preach. 
  • 4WARD4WARD Officer Cross Creek,FLPosts: 1,397 Officer
    I think glenn and myself and many others comprehend just fine. Just saying.

    "I hate graveyards and old pawn shops
    For they always bring me tears
    I can't forgive the way they rob me
    Of my childhood souvenirs"... John Prine
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 AG Posts: 10,378 AG
    If slot limit is effective by itself, why was Snook harvest banned for 2 years after 2010 freeze. Because Snook died in Naples. We have one of varying severity every year. Until there is interest in compiling  data and comprehensive regulations are formed, its up to us sportsmen to regulate things, each by his own compass, I guess. 
    The slot limit maintains the population under normal circumstances, along with closed seasons. Exceptional circumstances called for an additional measure. Releasing a few fish is unlikely to affect fish populations. 
    You are making my point for me. There are no exceptional circumstances for our Snook, ever. If Naples would have had our freeze winter before last, Snook would be closed for 2 years right now. Just trying to show the challenges our Snook face and the many years to maturity. If you want to keep it, your choice. There is no other fish that so many people pursue for fun only. 
    we don't have a historical population of snook.. hence no regs based on our snook.

    We get some colder winters back to back (and I pray for that) then this snook fishery is over for a while...

    Enjoy it and eat some, don't **** on folks that do.

    and I been here a while Ted, 1968 Ozello pic, no snook then sir
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • xmuskyguidexmuskyguide Captain Beautiful HomosassaPosts: 1,642 Captain

    You are making my point for me. There are no exceptional circumstances for our Snook, ever. If Naples would have had our freeze winter before last, Snook would be closed for 2 years right now. Just trying to show the challenges our Snook face and the many years to maturity. If you want to keep it, your choice. There is no other fish that so many people pursue for fun only. 
    Hardly. They rarely get freezes down there. We have freezes pretty much on a yearly basis. With a one fish limit, I would venture to say that most fishermen fish for them for sport. There are a lot more people fishing for redfish than snook. Perhaps if more people fished for them in our area, the state would show more interest but regulating for a regular natural occurrence doesn't make sense to me. Snook are excellent gamefish and I'm glad they have advocates like you.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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