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Sarasota/Venice winter snook in rivers

bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 661 Officer
So, the last couple of winters I've done a decent amount of snook fishing around the Venice/Osprey/Sarasota area and stuck mostly to the jetties and bridges near them. Haven't explored further inland, but I'm curious in anyone has had luck further up the various creeks/rivers in the area this time of year since I know that's traditionally a good place to snook fish during the colder months. 

Was mostly thinking of Philippi Creek and various offshoots of it, but any information or advice would be appreciated. Also, I don't have a boat so this is all fishing from shore or yak. 
Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.

Replies

  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 3,237 Captain
    yes
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    Captain Keith - Crooked Rod Charters
  • Gypsies CallGypsies Call Posts: 258 Deckhand
    I don't fish up that way as I live in North Port, but from my experience you can't go wrong fishing backwater areas this time of year.  I got one yesterday and two today - all in about 2 hours total fishing time, and all on jigs.  Snook like moving water, except on the coldest time periods when the water drops down to the high 50s and low 60s.  They get very lethargic or die colder than that.  Afternoons when the sun is out and warms the water can be a very good time because they look for dark bottom areas that absorb heat that warms them up, especially 2-3 days after a cold front comes through.  I'd recommend fishing around docks, oyster bars, points, and drop offs.  We've had some really low tides.  I like to take my boat or yak out and see what I can see at low tide. You can see the edges and drop offs from bars that you otherwise might not see.  Plus, fishing low tide pulls them from structure.  Baits I use are either a skitter walk (bone or silver mullet) or 1/16 - 1/8 oz jig with a paddletail.  Best colors seem to be white, purple, electric chicken, smoke, etc.

    Good luck.
    GC
    Gypsies Call
    SWO LCDR, USN-Retired
    Sea Chaser 200 Flats Series
    Old Town Predator Kayak
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 661 Officer
    Thanks to both you you. Do you need to work the lures any slower this time of year due to the colder water?
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 3,237 Captain
    Strangely I've had some 20+ snook nights working baits unusually fast... but they're all 15-18" fish.  The big girls tend to like it slow and near the bottom.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    Captain Keith - Crooked Rod Charters
  • Gypsies CallGypsies Call Posts: 258 Deckhand
    Topwater with the skitterwalk is a steady retrieve, making it walk side to side.  I don't hurry it... jigs I find more productive to hop it and let it fall back, but I know some will use just a steady retrieve.  I use jigs around bridges and let them fall to the bottom, or close to it.  I get hung up sometimes, and if I'm not, that usually means I'm not fishing the lure deep enough.
    Gypsies Call
    SWO LCDR, USN-Retired
    Sea Chaser 200 Flats Series
    Old Town Predator Kayak
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 661 Officer
    Thanks! Will check some docks and bridges on Philippi Creek this week. 
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • MulletMaster239MulletMaster239 Southwest FloridaPosts: 349 Deckhand
    Yes very slow in winter if you’re targeting one of decent size, as in barely moving it along the bottom. But personally I prefer live ladyfish or chunks of mullet for snook fishing inland, works great year round. Cichlids and tilapia work well also.
  • joekat46joekat46 North PortPosts: 2,516 Captain
    Btw - there is a decent article in this month's FS magazine regarding snook fishing in the Peace River. 
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