Snook to reopen in Gulf of Mexico Florida waters March 1

Information submitted by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

UPDATE: Snook will close to all harvest in Gulf state, federal and inland waters, including all of Monroe County and Everglades National Park, starting May 1. Seasonal harvest closures conserve Florida’s valuable snook populations and help sustain and improve the fishery for the future.

 

If Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World, then the snook should run for president.

The recreational harvest season for one of Florida’s premier fish – the snook – reopens on March 1 in Florida’s Gulf of Mexico state and adjacent federal waters, including Everglades National Park and Monroe County. The season will remain open through April 30.

The snook is a protected species. In the Gulf, anglers may keep one snook per day that is not less than 28 or more than 33 inches total length, which is measured from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed while the fish is lying on its side. A snook permit is required to keep snook, along with a saltwater fishing license unless exempt from the license requirements. Only hook-and-line gear is allowed when targeting or harvesting snook.

Photo Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

FWC encourages anglers to use moderation when determining whether to take a snook home during the open season. When choosing to release a fish, the FWC encourages anglers to handle it carefully to help the fish survive upon release. Proper handling methods can help ensure the species’ abundance for anglers today and generations to come. Learn more about fish handling here.

Researchers ask anglers who harvest the fish to save the carcasses after the meat is filleted and provide the carcasses to the FWC by dropping them off at a participating bait and tackle store.

 

Drop off locations in Collier County:

  • Cocohatchee River Park Marina, 13531 Vanderbilt Drive, Naples
  • Caxambas Pass Park and Marina, 909 Collier Court, Marco Island
  • Calusa Island Marina, 385 Angler Drive, Goodland

 

These carcasses provide valuable information on the size, age, maturity and sex of the catch. This progressive program allows anglers to participate in the collection of data regarding Florida’s premier inshore game fish. In Atlantic state and federal waters (including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River) the season is open through May 31, and one snook may be kept per person, per day. The size limit in Atlantic waters is no less than 28 inches total length and no more than 32 inches total length.

For more information on snook regulations, click here.

Snook Facts:

It is illegal to buy or sell snook.

Snagging fish is horribly unethical and against the law

Snook are known as protandric hermaphrodites which means they have the ability to change sex from male to female. It’s not exactly known what causes the change because not all snook will make this change in their lifetime.

Snook put up a fight and are highly intelligent. It’s no wonder that preservation efforts are growing in Florida.

Snook are known as “ambush feeders” meaning that they’ll surprise attack their prey as it swims or moves into range. This occurs especially at the mouths of inlets where currents play a role while the snook waits in hiding behind bridge pilings, rocks, or other submerged structure.

Snook have the ability to adapt to sudden changes in salinity. This process is called osmoregulation. They can even move from a saltwater to a freshwater environment, adapting to sudden changes in salinity with the help of special cells called chloride cells, which are located within their gills.

Besides preying on small fish, snook also feed on shrimp, crabs, and mollusks.

“Limit your kill; don’t kill your limit!”
Angler care when handling and releasing snook will dramatically reduce the harmful effects of cryptic mortality. The most common causes of death are physiological stresses caused by the struggle during capture and injuries caused by the hook or the angler.

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