The “poleward” northern movement of snook as followed the range of 2 specie of mangrove bushes that offer defense to juveniles of the species. And, when infrequent cool “snaps” hit the coast, our springs and spring fed rivers likewise use security with their warmer waters.

common snook (Centropomus undecimalis)) Story by Capt. Tommy Thompson

Up until recently, there was absolutely nothing “common” about catching common snook (Centropomus undecimalis) on our Big Bend Gulf of Mexico coast. Historically (a minimum of in my 70 years!) snook were practically limited by cooler water to the Gulf of Mexico south of Anclote Key in Tarpon Springs. But, in the last few years, with warming winters and the accompanying warmer Gulf waters, they now range as far north as Taylor County, in our Natural North Florida region.

Snook, AKA “linesiders” or robalo, are protected by law. You might keep snook of particular sizes, so long as they are captured in season:

Season: Closed Dec. 1-end of February and May 1-Aug. 31 NOTE: All state waters from the Hernando/Pasco county line through Gordon Pass in Collier County is catch-and-release ONLY through Aug. 31, 2021

Slot Limit: Not less than 28 ″ or more than 33 ″ total length

Daily Bag Limit: 1 per harvester per day; zero captain and team for-hire limitation *.

On our Big Bend, anticipate to discover snook along rocky shorelines where currents are strong, feeding into the tide. Snook are ambush feeders and will strike both synthetic and live baits.

On our Big Bend, anticipate to find snook along rocky coastlines where currents are strong, feeding into the tide. They often range well up rivers on the Big Bend, as they are euryhaline, able to survive in both salt and fresh waters. These fish are tough fighters and have the ability to wrap line around structure, or cut it with their sharp gill plates. Heavy, and transparent, fluorocarbon leaders are necessary as is moderately heavy tackle. Snook are ambush feeders and will strike both live and synthetic baits. Soft artificial swimbaits like a light colored D.O.A. Bait Buster work well. For live bait, usage big shrimp or little pinfish or pigfish, however care must be taken to keep them extremely dynamic and fresh.

Till just recently, there was nothing “typical” about capturing typical snook (Centropomus undecimalis) on our Big Bend Gulf of Mexico coast. In the last couple of years, with warming winter seasons and the accompanying warmer Gulf waters, they now range as far north as Taylor County, in our Natural North Florida area.

* Finally, in spite o their popularity and numbers think about these strong fighters to be endangered. In fact, in certain parts of the state, keeping one is restricted, even in season due to red tide and other ecological factors. Catch and launch is encouraged.