June 12, 2021
Stamper's southwest snook tactics
We have three types of snook fishing here in the Fort Myers area. Our back bays, beaches, and wrecks will hold snook at different times of the year or constantly. The last and first cold fronts of the year dictate when and where the fish will be found. Anglers can fish for them in shallow water skiffs, by foot, or in the big boats.
Back bay fishing consists of rivers, creeks, sea walls, bridges, and mangrove shorelines. These areas are often winter haunts for snook. You'll often find snook patrolling these areas where there's sandy bottom. Snook of all sizes can be found in these areas and will be most active when the water temperatures are above 72 degrees. Typical baits can range from topwater plugs, jerk baits, flies that mimic small white bait, and of course live pilchards. These areas will hold snook all year.
Beach fishing begins in the Springtime and can happen as early as April, but certainly by June. The last cold fronts usually push through late March and from that point forward, water temperatures continue to rise. Snook now begin harassing the huge schools of small pilchards, threadfins, and mullet that swim tight to the shoreline. Those fishing by foot can often sightfish these snook. You'll see packs of small snook in the 15-25-inch range swimming together. Occasionally anglers will have a chance at sightfishing giants, as fish over 40-inches will be possible. This beach pattern usually holds up through September. Mimic the bait found on the beach for best success.
Wrecks round out the last of our typical snook fishing spots. The Gulf of Mexico has a lot of wrecks throughout the area. Many of these wrecks are public and can be found on most GPS units. The recent technology of side scan has been a game changer when snook fishing these areas. The ability to see fish off one side or the other of the wreck, almost doesn't seem fair. That's todays technology so if you got it, use it. I've had side scan for about six years now and it opened an entire new fishery for me just by looking around some of the wrecks, rather than fishing the wreck itself. Wreck snook are typically all big and threadfin herrings, pinfish, or big pilchards are the typical baits when fishing for them. Using heavy jigs or half to two-ounce egg sinkers work well, depending on current and depth. Typically, I'll be inside of 40-feet, using 3/4-ounce of lead, with a 40-pound leader and a 3/0 circle hook when targeting these fish.
Capt. Greg Stamper