For the last two summers I have had the pleasure of taking a trip down to Florida with several of my good friends to target something that pulls a little harder than bass. Last year we traveled to mosquito lagoon Florida to target redfish and trout. This year we decided to change it up and target snook! A fish that I had not previously caught before.
Fast forward to the last night of our trip. I had suffered the loss of a massive trophy Snook. Although that was a true heartbreaker I had landed a few other nice Snook including a 23″ beauty. Every night leading up to this we would paddle back through the canals to our condo but as we went we were taunted by the hundreds of Snook gathered around the submerged lights and dock lights. On this night I was bent on catching some fish off those lights. So off I went loaded out with every lure and bait I could find and I was prepared to throw them all. I bet on the shrimp so the first light I pulled up to I sent the shrimp sailing right up next to it. I could see the Snook from where I was. They were inches from my live shrimp. Nothing. They wouldn’t touch it. I throw it back a few times and follow up with some normal Snook baits but no takers. About fed up I’m staring into my box of tackle and there I see the trusty old ned rig. It never fails. So I figured hey if smallmouths eat it why won’t a Snook. First cast with the ned rig slammed the dock pole. I immediately kicked the flex drive and pulled my Coosa FD away from the dock. At this point I was sure they were spooked as I couldn’t see them any longer. I cast in there anyways and to my surprise a short Snook shoots out of the water with my line in tow. I struggle to recover but somehow landed the fish. I was pretty excited at this point so threw the little guy back and threw my bait back to the light. This time I gave the bait some action. On the second twitch it got slammed and a huge 25″ Snook comes flying towards my kayak and somehow into my net! I just sat there a thought. Dang. That’s my personal best Snook. I took a few poor quality photos since it was dark and then I moved on in search of the next dock light.
As I was making a move to the next light I called Nick and had him meet me on the way. So as I got closer to the spot with all the lights I met up with Nick who just must have had to see my ned rig snook shenanigans. We pull up to a few lights and I couldn’t seem to keep the fish off my line. I landed at least one snook off of every light that I fished. The only downside was that every fish cost me one ned rig plastic. I personally really like ned rigs so I naturally have quite a few of them. At this point I had used up almost all my stock and was down to just a bag of pink ned rig plastics.
A short while later It was getting late so we worked our way to where the canals meet the inlet. There was some current coming out of the canals since the tide change was starting to happen. Right at the entrance there was this huge house with a boat dock to fit. Good thing for me there was a submerged light right behind the dock which was acting like a current break. I cast my pink ned rig in there and let the current carry it past the light. I pointed my kayak into the current and used the Flex Drive to hold my position while simultaneously working my bait as it floated past the light. The first cast yielded nothing. I was a little skeptical about this light since I couldn’t see any fish on it like I could with the others. Regardless I made another cast Identical to the first. This time as my bait floated past the light I gave it a slight twitch and immediately felt a light thump. I reeled up the slack and swung my rod hard and fast only to have it stopped and jerked hard in the opposite direction. The fish darted from the dock and towards open water. I could hear the huge splash of the fish jumping but it was too dark for me to see the fish that far out. After a while I had the fish close. It had quid jumping and was pulling hard down into the black water. I shine my light on it as I feel it coming up. The fish comes out of the water looking exhausted so I quickly net it only to have it thrash ferociously in the net for a brief moment. I put the fish on the board and it was just shy of the 30 inch mark. My new personal best snook in the middle of the night on a rod made for smallmouth and using a pink ned rig that was bought originally as a joke. I thought that it would make a decent story then and I still do now. Not only was this a great laugh but it reminded me to always think outside the box when fishing. You never know when a pink ned rig will do the trick.
- submitted by Aiden Darlington