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snook lures winter fishing in the spread william toney
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Winter Snook Lures and Fishing

Snook fishing has its hurdles, in general, with when will they eat, what do they want, how to present snook lures and on and on. Throw the cold air and water of winter into the mix and you have a real challenge on your hands. They get sluggish. The fish will seek refuge in the warmest spots they can get to and hunker down. Will the tide trigger a bite in the dead of winter or will you lure entice a strike?

Capt. William Toney has been snook fishing Florida along the northwest Gulf coast his entire life. Homosassa is a well known, if not legendary, snook fishery. The dynamics in this part of the state have an interesting impact on the fish. Feed by several first magnitude springs, the water flowing out of the rivers stays in the 70 degree range, while the waters in the Gulf hover in the high 50's to low 60's. This warm source draws snook up these rivers, for refuge. The warm fresh water in the rivers is why Homosassa has seen its snook fishery flourish over the years. You just don't get the kill off that other fisheries are impacted by in the winter.

So, how to catch snook in the winter is the trick. The cold has them moving up towards the spring head in order to stay alive. Robalo fish are not very cold tolerant, so follow the river up stream until you find fish. Once you find them, they will typically stick around that area for some time. Now, you might be asking yourself, “how the hell do I find them”? Good question and one that Capt. Toney will go into great detail about in this video.

For this In The Spread video, we are using artificials. What are the best snook lures? The one(s) that are triggering bites on a given day. This sounds flippant, but there will be reasons why certain lures work better than others on different days. William Toney is an excellent lure fisherman, for any of the big inshore species. What he does in this video is try out several different snook fishing lures in various sizes and colors to dial in on the particular lure that in getting the most hits, so you can see how subtle changes in placement and action make a huge difference. This is really interesting.

You will also see how the tides turn the bite on and off, like a light switch. Fishing in the river is a little different. There is a constant outgoing flow due to the spring, but when the cold water from the gulf pushes in with the tide, you will see a change in flow patterns. Snook are super responsive to this change. You need to be set up on the spot you want to target when that change happens. You need to know which tide is best and which part of the tide will produce the best action. If you are even 30 minutes late to hit a good spot, you may catch nothing. The bite window opens and closes that quickly. It is the difference between perhaps nothing or a couple of fish and 10 or 20. William will explain everything you need to know while he demonstrates his techniques.

Check out our other snook videos

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