Snook back on the menu
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
PINE ISLAND, Fla. - After three years of not being able to catch the popular fish, Snook are finally back on the menu.
Out on the seas off the coast of Pine Island, fishers brought out their best gear in time for Snook season.
"I use a 20 to 25 pound braided line," said Captain Chris Stanford.
Captain Stanford runs a charter service out of Pineland Marina. He says he's excited for the open of Snook season this year, because for the first time in three years you can keep the Snook you catch.
"It's my first Snook of the season," said Captain Stanford.
A cold snap caused massive fish kills back in 2009, causing Florida Fish and Wildlife to limit Snook fishing to catch and release only.
As of September 1, 2013 the ban is over, but before you go Snook fishing there are some rules and regulations you need to know.
"It can't be too small and it can't be too big," said Lt. Robby Creechy with the Florida Fish and Wild Life Conservation Commission. "The Snook slot limit is a 28 to 33 inch total length fish."
If you break those rules, you could face up to a $500 fine and 60 days in jail.
There is also a one Snook per person, per day restriction and those looking to bring home Snook are required to have a Snook fishing license.
To find out what all the buzz was about, Captain Stanford invited Fox 4's Dave Culbreth and I on a private charter to catch some Snook.
After be out on the water for a couple of hours, we didn't have any luck with catching Snook, but we caught what felt like just about every other species of fish.
In the meantime, the Captain gave us some pointers.
"A lot of people use really heavy line," said Captain Stanford, "and the fish can see it."
He also added, "if you snatch it trying to set the hook, you'll end up pulling it out of their mouth."
So Dave and I put those tips to use, and finally we caught a Snook!
Unfortunately, the Snook turned out to be too small. It was about four inches shy of the cut off.
If you are interested in taking a private charter with Captain Stanford visit his website here.