Lure Fishing for Snook (The Search for Monster Snook) - Part 2
To view Part 1, click here
The following day saw the swells increase and the bait fish move out to deeper water. I fished hard in a number of locations using long casting lures for eight hours with no reward. With the Carnival finishing and the swell remaining strong, I decided to head back to the city to see if I could trade in the car for something more suitable. Understanding my predicament of not wanting to damage the car, the company agreed to take the vehicle back. After approaching a few other companies, I was very fortunate to pick up a fully insured Hilux 4x4 pickup which I managed to bargain down to almost the price of the car itself! Now I was set and it was well worth losing a day’s fishing, as I would now be able to access more spots and not worry about trashing my original hire car which had only been able to make it up some of the steep dry mud tracks at high speed.
Early next morning, I headed out further along the coast to a spot I had called ‘The Fingers’ on my previous trip. This time, however, I had a proper 4x4 which had no problem handling the long sandy beach, saving me a 20 minute walk. With a big swell and high tide I started at first light, fishing the channel between the beach and the rocks thinking that some big fish could be feeding closer to shore. I waded out to a rock, dragging my feet to scare off any stingrays that may be lurking in the shallows
For the time being, I was limited to fishing the point between the beach and the fingers. The sets of waves seemed endless but during the intervals, with my long casting lures it was possible to cover the water over the deep rocky ledges. I always find these conditions can be deceptive and dangerous but my patience was rewarded when a hard fighting jack crevalle smashed my Samson Enticer Minnow. After a precarious landing, I took a quick photo and sent it back on its way. Although the swell had picked up, the conditions were not optimal for the snook.
The next morning saw the swell beginning to drop slightly and I decided to head out further along the coast to check out some new locations. It had been a good call changing the vehicle, allowing me some more flexibility to get to some otherwise unreachable marks. The further I drove, the harder the trail got and after crossing beaches, negotiating steep tracks and passing through deep rivers beds, I made it to a beautiful beach with a steep drop off. I spent the first hour casting from the shore, hoping to pick up a snook close to the shallow river mouth. While I fished, I noticed some birds diving further around the headland so, after a while, I decided to climb around and explore. I arrived at a set of rocks I had been dropped off on by boat on my previous trip. Although the conditions looked very promising I only managed to hook up with a single hawkfish.
With the Carnival now over, I was keen to get back and fish a shallow rivermouth mark that for the last few days had been heavily netted. I hoped that things had returned to normal and, on arrival, I was pleased to see that all nets had gone. The conditions looked similar to the first time I had fished this spot on the previous trip and I started to get the feeling you get when everything feels right and that sense of anticipation builds inside.
Although the first 30 minutes were quiet, I persisted knowing that I was in with a chance. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a stronger desire for that lure to be hit than when targeting snook, there’s something addictive about this species that just keeps you wanting more. Whether it’s the way they sneakily ambush their prey or how they leap into the air head shaking and gills flaring, all I know is there are good reasons why people love this fish so much. So when, all of a sudden, a nice snook hit the prototype mullet-colored Tweak Bait, the adrenaline was pumping again and I got to enjoy the spectacle of the fish leaping all around me doing its best to shake the hook. This time the snook won and flicked off the lure right in close just as I was about to land it. Although I was majorly disappointed, I knew that it’s all part of the game with this species. 4-2 to the snook!
Continuing on, I felt confident there could be more fish around. Casting across the shallow rivermouth, my lure was suddenly inhaled by a big snook. As you’re playing these fish, you have no idea how well they’re hooked and you feel sheer relief each time one leaps and lands and you’re still connected. As I brought this one over the shallow boulder bottom, I was especially happy as it was certainly my personal best snook. The score still favoured the snook but I’d pulled one back to 4-3.
With the tide dropping it was time to move on to a different mark. As I started fishing, again I had the same sense of anticipation and it wasn’t long before another big snook took the lure and began leaping around the shallow ledges. I managed to fight the fish around the front of the rock I was standing on when it suddenly took a turn and headed for the other side of the rock. Scrambling around, I just managed to keep the line clear. As the fish tired and I watched it just metres below, I noticed that the tail hooks had come free and the fish was now attached precariously by the belly hook in the nose. Feeling certain I would lose this one, I made a quick effort to land it on some reef with a wave and jumped down to get it. As I lifted the snook up, the lure literally dropped out. In fact, there wasn’t one occasion during the trip where I needed the pliers to unhook a snook. With two big snook landed, this was turning out to be the session of the trip!
With the score now square, I was keen to get ahead and I continued to fish on. As the tide continued to drain over the reef, even throwing my long casting lures as far as I could out into the surf, it began to look like the chance of another fish would soon be gone when suddenly a snook shot out from the rocks and smashed into the Tweak bait! Smaller in comparison to the other two but still a lovely fish, this one made a series of head shaking jumps and nearly managed to break my line by making a powerful run for some rocks. Steady pressure prevailed, however, and I landed the fish over the reef, absolutely delighted with what ended up being the best session of the trip. Grant 5, snook 4!
In Part 3, I hit the ledges for some jacks and also have a last go at catching another snook.