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Snook Season is Open
By Jonie Maschek
Sep 18, 2008 - 10:04:06 AM

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Now that snook season is open, go out and land one. Many books have been written on “How to Catch a Snook,” or “Fish Now For Snook” or “Where the Snook Are” and many more. You can read all of these books, and still not be able to catch a snook.
Photo by Jonie Maschek Matt Maschek with his first snook.

Go out there, find your own spot, rig your pole -- your way -- and when he takes your bait, figure out how to land him. Practice makes perfect.

If you are using bait that he won’t take, try something else -- a jig, a lure, artificial bait, a greenback, or large shrimp. Some rig their lines with all types of weights and a special hook, while others make a strike with no effort at all, just plain luck.
When you do get a strike, learn to respect the snook’s capabilities -- power and fury. He will take off on a line, zipping, jumping and running -- don’t let him break your line. Just about the time that you have asked for a net, whoops! he’s gone again and he breaks your line or as gotten away from your hook, and there you are, wondering what happened.

A snook may weigh anywhere between 5 and 55 pounds, so have a heavy line just in case you hook a big one.

A person will learn to catch a snook by hands-on experience. You may catch not more than one per person, not less than 28” or more than 32”. One per day is your limit.

Snook is a great tablefare, prepared your way, baked, broiled, poached or fried. While in Apalachicola, they had spicy barbecued snook in season.

If you poach or bake your snook, try serving it with a white sauce made of flour, milk and butter poured over the fish. Garnish with hard boiled eggs and sprigs of parsley.

Have you been to Cedar Key? Breakfast there is fish omelet. I really didn’t like this one, as it brought back memories of my trip to Africa, where the eggs had a fish taste, no matter how they were cooked.

A Mexican way to cook your fish is to add chili powder, chopped onions and hot peppers to a flour sauce used to pour over your fish. In the tropical islands, I was served baked fish with tropical fruits. The fruits were baked with the fish. In the south, you will eat baked or fried fish with grits, either plain or with cheese. In New York, I was served fish balls with a dill sauce, as an appetizer.

In Switzerland, I enjoyed fish mousse made with two cups of heavy cream, grated nutmeg, a pinch of cayenne pepper with fish fillets churned in a food processor. It was served warm, so I asked if it was baked or frozen, and found the nold was put into a pan on top of the stove until the water boiled around it, then put in the oven to bake.

In Spain, I was served a whole fish with head attached as an ­appetizer. I saw one person cutting off the head; his knife had scales flying over the table. Waiters were scurrying around him, trying to be calm and tactful, showing him how to eat his fish.

In Aruba, I ordered sauteed fresh roe which had a lot of garlic and was cooked in real butter with salt and pepper. Served only with lemon wedges as an appetizer. At Hotel Olympian in Washington State, they do have the best small oysters served sizzling in a black iron skillet at your table.

At the Ice House in Shreveport, LA, crawfish are the top billing on the menu. As you enjoy your huge platter of crawfish, Cajun music fills the air and the people next to you are dancing Cajun style.

While in Boston at Pier Two, I enjoyed lobster, served their way with lots of butter. The Black Hawk in Chicago serves their fish with a wine sauce. My favorite place for fish in this area is one of the three Oyster Bars, all south of Ruskin.
Many anglers fish for fun, release their catches and leave cooking the fish to someone else by going out to eat.

I saw in the news today that a ­local wholesale company sold grouper to restaurants, but it wasn’t grouper. A way to spot the real thing is that grouper has a thick fillet and firm texture. If you think that you have been scammed, call the State Dept. of Agriculture with your complaint.

The weather has been the factor this week in slow fishing. It seems fish were feeding, but not many were being landed at Simmons Park. Boaters were out in early morning, but no catches were reported to me. Maybe the fish have relocated because of the weather, going to deeper water or finding a deep hole.

As the weather cleared up, the bass bite was great and those fishing in the fresh water of the upper Manatee report some good catches.

Reports from the bait shops in that a few reds are cruising around. Those fishing from piers report good sheepshead catches.

Many boats are still in ‘safe harbor’ at the waters of Williams Park. I counted seven trailers at Simmons Park on Sunday, and on Cockroach Bay Road only a few trailers. It seems the weather has stopped fishing for many anglers.
Rain or shine, keep the weather in mind.

 -- Aleta Jonie Maschek is a ­member of Florida Outdoor Press­.


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