Beware - Snook Season Ends December 15

By Jonie Maschek

Snook season ends the 15th of this month. If you havenít made your big catch yet, it best you get started.

Pods of redfish have been sighted from the Alafia River to Simmons Park, the Little Manatee River and in Apollo Beach.

Anglers have given a multitude of names to the redfish, such as red bass, rat reds, spot-tail bass, red horse, puppy drum or as it is most often called ó just plain ďreds.Ē

There is a wide variety of tackle that may be used to catch a red. It is depends on which body of water you are fishing in, a channel, flats, coastal waters or rivers.

Many anglers are reporting the reds they have caught are either too small or too large for the legal limit. A legal catch is not less than 27 inches and only one per day per person.

Many catches and releases have taken place. It is probably best to take a wet towel with you to handle the fish you are releasing. Often the chemicals from hands will injure your catch.

Many catches have been made from the canals at Simmons Park. They are being caught on almost anything from jigs, spoons, live shrimp, plugs and greenbacks.

It will depend upon where you are fishing and how you go about catching the red. The best way is to wade, drift, troll or bottom fish.

A big plus with a redfish catch is that it is a great and outstanding tablefare. Before the restrictions, reds could be found on all restaurant menus, but since the prohibition banning of gill-netting by commercial fishermen they arenít. Now reds can swim and spawn untouched.

If you are a novice and canít tell a red from another fish, you can identified them by a round spot just above the tail. An old legend comes to mind of it being the fingerprint Jesus left on the fish he used with the loaves of bread to feed the multitude.

If you are new to the area, I hope before you buy fishing gear that you talk with a local angler and find out what kind of equipment to use in saltwater and freshwater. When I came south, I bought all the wrong gear for fishing down here. There is a world of difference in type of poles and reels used in other waterways.
I know football is still in full swing but there are some anglers out there fishing and not watching football. They are coming in with great catches.

This weather with cool nights has brought the fish into the rivers for food. They are merging out of the mangroves and deep holes. It is really the best time of the year to catch a fish.

Not many people are participating in tournaments that are taking place for the big ones. It isnít the entry fee but the price of gasoline and the prizes arenít big enough to make it worth while.

I know that the tarpon tournaments that were held in Hillsborough County no longer exist because of the lack of interest.

Many have had a great day catching drum this week. Drum catches have been made from piers and in the river.

Sheepshead are always out there but some cannot master a catch. Sheepshead have a bony mouth and it is difficult to set the hook.

Mangrove snappers are being caught in the channels. Whiting are in schools in the deep pockets of the Little Manatee River.

Cobia are still roaming the waterways, most often they are seen in the warm waters around TECO.

It wasnít all peaceful and quite along the waterfront this week. Someone, and you know who you are, spent the entire night roaring around in the Little Manatee River in an airboat. Nobody minds it if it is before 11 p.m., but to do it all night until 5 a.m ó shame on you!

I have written a thousand times for anglers and boaters to wear their life jackets but some think nothing will happen to them. I heard about another accident this week where they were not wearing life jackets.

Have a safe fishing week.

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