Snook

 

UPDATE

I recently had a decent shore based session on the snook.  A school of them were holed up in a nice hole between a beach and a section of reef.  The tide was running out, sweeping the water (and all the baitfish) into this hole, with only a small, shallow channel leading back out to deeper water.  My son and I threw some Squidgy Fish soft plastics around and caught a few nice-sized snook.  (We also lost a few lures - the snook's teeth are sharp and when they are biting, it's very common to lose the tails).  Good fun, and not the usual snook territory.  it was also coming up to low tide, just after noon, on a bright, sunny day!

Snook are great fun to catch.  Mainly due to their size and sometimes spectacular lure crunching strikes.

I caught my first Snook from the jetty at Port Giles.  I was throwing around one of the then new Vibrotail lures.  I was actually watching the lure just as it neared the surface when a 70 centimetre Snook grabbed it.  It fought quite well and looked massive after the bucketload of Tommies we had just caught.

Since then I have managed a few from boat and shore, and the best method, or the most fun anyway, is using lures.  Now that soft plastics have become so popular, Snook are a real possibility just about anywhere.

Summer is the best time to target them, with dawn and dusk excellent times of the day.  During the night under jetty lights is also prime Snook territory.

If using lures from the jetty, small sliced metals about 15-20 grams are ideal.  Cast them right out, let them sink well down and use a stop/start retrieve.  Make sure part of your retrieve is through the areas underneath the jetty lights.  Soft plastics, in the "anything that looks like a whitebait" pattern work very well.  A nice slow retrieve does the job, with a few twitches of the road tip thrown in.  Take plenty of spare plastics as the Snook's teeth rip them apart.

If using bait, whitebait, bluebait and strips of squid are excellent baits.  I use a 1/0 hook with a trailing size 4.  Quite often, Snook are hard to hook and the number 4 at the back always catches a few.  Put the 1/0 through the eye of the whitebait or bluebait and the number 4 through the tail.  If it doesn't sit quite right then just leave the number 4 trailing.  Try to use an unweighted bait, but often it is necessary to use a couple of split shot to combat tide and wind problems.  Let the bait sink well down and retrieve slowly, pausing every now and then.  Some fishers still walk up and down the jetty dragging their baits underneath the jetty lights.  This is a proven method and still works, but obviously can't be done if there are other people about.

The deep water jetties are the best.  Wallaroo, Port Giles and Kingscote the pick of the bunch.  Having said that, there wouldn't be too many jetties that are devoid of Snook at night.  Within the last few years, lights have been installed along Marion Bay jetty and this will surely produce fish.  Ardrossan isn't bad either.

If using lures, Snook often hit them hard. sometimes right near the surface.  When bait fishing, you may just feel weight on the line prior to hooking up.  They fight quite well and are rather larg fish....well long anyway.  Watch out for their teeth when unhooking.

Trolling from a boat is good fun, but I've only ever used the old paravane or leadline/sliced metal lure combination.  It's just a matter of hauling them in when you feel them on the line.  Good numbers can be caught like this though, but a lot of ground has to be covered at times to locate the fish.  The two most productive areas for me using this style of fishing have been just outside the channel entrance at Port Broughton and near Rocky Island off of Port Victoria.

As mentioned previously, they can turn up in some surprising places.  I love the old 15 gram Juro Shiners.  They cast very well and all kinds of fish will take them.  (I don't know if they make them anymore....I have been unable to find any in my local store).  Anyway, it was late Summer and I was using the Shiner in the channel at St. Kilda, just north of Adelaide.  In Summer here, there are always a few Tommies that will have a go, as well as the odd Salmon Trout.  The Tommies are generally a nice size and using lures means much less weed as the tide rips in.  Just on dusk, I hooked an obviously larger fish with lots of splashing around on the surface.  A 62 cm Snook was the result, closely followed by another slightly smaller.  The following evening I was back and caught three more, the largest 68 cm.

I was also surprised to catch several nice Snook from the end of the very small breakwater in front of the Port Vincent Caravan Park.  I looked at this location at low tide and saw a deeper channel just in front of the wall.  There was bugger all water at low tide; you could have walked around the end of the wall without getting the gentlemens area wet.

I decided to give the trusty Shiner a swim at high tide and managed half a dozen nice Snook and two Salmon Trout.

As a table fish, Snook are in the same boat (pardon the pun) as Salmon and Mullet.  They are nice fish to eat fresh, but not so good after being frozen.  If you catch any, only keep what you need, fillet and skin the fillets and then barbeque them as soom as you can.  Very nice indeed. 

Off of the jetties if bait fishing, I use my old 10 foot, light action surf rod.  It's good for casting light wieghts and can lift the heavy fish with ease.  About a 10 ib main line and 15-20 ib trace will protect you from bite offs.

If using lures a nicely balanced spin set up with a 7 foot rod would work well.  If the Snook are large, you may have to utilise a crab net ot similar to haul them up onto the jetty.