Fishing, especially for snook has been quite good in and around the Fort Pierce Inlet lately. While we are targeting snook with live pilchards and threadfin herring we are certainly hooking, though not necessarily landing, plenty of other species!
Huge snook, tarpon in the thirty pound class to over seven feet long, big jacks and hungry sharks have been straightening out 3/0 hooks and breaking our lines many times each trip, especially while fishing near the jetty rocks. Too, the big sharks have eaten whole a few of the over slot snook we’ve hooked!
Our typical rig for this type of fishing consists of a seven foot custom built spinning rod from Adventurous Custom Rod married to a Penn 4500 spinning reel loaded with thirty pound braid. Affixed, using an FG knot, to the mainline is a length of forty pound fluorocarbon leader and the 3/0 circle hook is tied fast. A soft rubber bead is threaded onto the hook acting as a stopper so the nose hooked baitfish can’t easily twist or spin the hook back into itself. This outfit works wonderfully until a fish too big for the HOOK comes a chewin’!
While I do carry both heavier and lighter outfits, it’s ultimately the size of the baitfish that dictates the size of the rod, reel, line and hook. If I have more than a few large live baitfish I will break out a fifty pound line outfit with fifty or sixty pound leader and a 5/0 or larger circle hook. Keep in mind it take some strength on the angler’s end to use this gear when structure fishing with a firm drag setting. The lighter rigs hold twenty pound braid, thirty pound leader and 2/0 circle hooks. This outfit, for me, is the most fun, though it often takes a little extra finessing from the angler to convince a large snook to swim out of their ambush tangles. None of us convince every fish into open water for a “fair” battle, so expect lots of break-offs.
Until Next Time, Tight Lines!
Capt. Mark Wright