During the spring and fall on the Indian River you can find some awesome snook fishing on the Indian River Lagoon just east of Orlando and west of Cocoa Beach and the barrier island running along the Florida coastline. Typically we find snook near tidal flow areas near Sebastian Inlet, Fort Pierce and Port Canaveral Florida in the Indian River, but snook show up in places all over the Indian River Lagoon during certain seasons and weather conditions.
Snook are a favorite sportsfish and are often targeted during the transition periods of spring and fall in Central Florida on the Lagoon because they come out of the winter hungry and then go toward the winter with a passion to fatten up for the short mild winters in Florida. During the winter is often one of the most difficult times to pursue these tropical fish as they become less active, but as the water warms up they head toward the beach where the biggest ones spawn. It's during these transition periods as they go to and come back from spawning that you'll find snook in the Indian River lagoon with more abundance.
During the spring, snook come out of their cold winter slumber and head toward the inlets preparing to spawn and on the way they forage for food and look for calories to give energy for their active spawning season. In the fall they come to the inlets and prepare for the first winters cold to send them south or toward fresher waters and warmer areas.
You can find snook in the backwaters, on the beaches, in the inlets and often the wise anglers will find larger ones on the shallow water flats of the Indian River. It's fun, but often frustrating to fish for snook around docks and structure on the lagoon, but you'd better be prepared with stout tackle and quick reactions as these fish know where the pilings and structure is and immediately head there to break off your line.
"I have the privilege of heading to the inland waters of the Indian River lagoon often throughout the year and I simply love looking for snook and catching them on the shallow waterways and backwaters." explains Captain Gina (pictured on the page). "It's a great way to spend a warm day in the sun working on my tan and spending time with my hubby", explains Captain Gina Bradley of Lagooner Fishing Guides.
Snook are an advanced species of fish for most anglers, usually requiring expert timing and fish fighting tactics. Your presentation can mean the difference between getting a bite and not and then once hooked snook turn into one of the smartest and hardest fighting inshore fish in the world, weaving their way into rocks, docks while jumping, leaping, twisting simultaneously shaking their heads, flaring their gills and throwing the hooks. If there was a fish that I consider my favorite, snook has to be very close to the top of the list if not the first one.
Be aware that snook are not for everyone... A beginning anger can quickly become discouraged to find that fishing is more work, technique and requires more skill than they have presently. In the fall and winter we often pursue snook at night and into the early mornings. Low light conditions make casting challenging even for advanced anglers. Some snook fishing requires and expert cast to get the bait or lure presented to the snook and then make a natural presentation that will convince these intelligent fish to bite.
Indian River Snook are no different than any other snook in the world and they're fun to catch for many anglers looking to put another species notch on their belts or just looking for a great time of fishing for a prestigious and tasty fish on the Indian River Lagoon.
Captain Gina's been pulling in fish since before we were married in 1990 and her practice and skills shows here as she lands another nice snook on the Indian River Lagoon.
During the fall snook seek out inlets, port & bay mouths to fatten up before leaner times in the deep winter months. Sebastian Inlet in our area is a great place to pursue snook from late September thru mid December. As the temperatures get colder look for some snook to head south toward Fort Pierce Inlet, St. Lucie or possibly as far south as Jupiter Inlet and the Loxahatchee River. Some will seek shelter in the Sebastian River directly across from Sebastian River as the winter matures. You also might consider Port Canaveral during the cooler fall months at night.
Snook are one of my all time favorite fish to pursue as they have everything it takes to make them a great gamefish. Snook not only fight hard, but have tricks and pranks to play on the angler from the time their hooked up till after you land them. A typical snook tactic is to find the nearest structure thus breaking you off. If your quick and lucky enough to survive the first run to cover, the snook will proceed to show you the power his broad strong tail provides him, then comes the aerobatics...
Of course the snook is difficult to fight on the line but an angler must first find these smart game fish that are often lurking after dark or around structure (see above). Structure provides ambush opportunities and safe haven for the snook and is often the best place to hunt for and locate them. Once found it's often difficult to entice a snook to eat and can as frustrating as arguing with a woman (you'll more than likely loose). Landing a snook can be as dangerous as handling a bunch of double edge razors as the snooks gills are sharp and flailing for the opportunity to defend against the unsuspecting angler.
The rewards of landing a snook are not only in the satisfaction of victory, but in the fine white fillets that this gamefish offers. Snook are known as one of the best eating inshore species in Florida and there's not much better than snook on the plate.
Fishing Locations (Where to meet your guide)
NO FISH NO PAY (warning)
Snook in East Central Florida have many different habitats and conditions that make them a great target for anglers looking for variable ways to catch this elusive fish. Juvenile fish can be caught in the estuaries, canals and backwater areas almost all year long. While not as prestigious as large breeder snook, they are non-the-less enjoyable to catch and will bite on everything from baitcasters to flyrods and everything between. Juvenile snook are suckers for artificial's and readily take live bait as well.
Big breeding snook spawn on or near the beaches of Central Florida and always have a passageway or access to the beaches or inlets available to them. The only time a breeder snook is generally caught in the backwaters here is because it's a cooler transitional time period usually. Canaveral snook spend their winter months in the Port under docks, wharfs and around other structure like boats and pilings. You often see them hanging around the lights at night in small and large schools. Sebastian Inlet Snook are caught in the inlet itself during the summer and fall months and many of the larger snook migrate south to Jupiter Inlet or hunker down in the fresh warmer water of the Sebastian River a short distance away.