Surf Casting Snook in Florida!

Water Body

As much of a hard core ice-head that I am, having a chance to head down to Florida for a week of sun, sand, and family time was a welcome break from the winter of Polar Vortices… The only way it could be any better was if I could find a way to get out and bend a rod.

My goal for the weekend was to not just to catch a fish but to find a way to do it on my own fishing from shore. Also, minus a quick 3 hour guide trip with my in-laws a couple years back I was a complete rookie. So how did I go about starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together? A little suprisingly it was exactly the same place that I always do when looking for local fishing information… our very own In-Depth Outdoors! You guys are an amazing resource and remembering that I had seen mentioned in a previous post a fellow IDO member (Fancaster) has family down in the Fort Myers area and had past experience with what I was hoping to accomplish so I reached out to him with a few questions… And then a few more questions… And then even a quick phone call. Thanks to Fancaster (aka Phil) it wasn’t long and I actually had a solid gameplan.

Part one of the plan was a quick stop at Bass Pro Shop to pick up some new tackle and probably most importantly some extra tough 30# Suffix 100% Flourocarbin leader (these fish have teeth.) Then a stop at the local bait shop, The Bait Box, to get as much info as I could about local regulations and tide movements. Finally, after switching out the hooks on everything not already geared for saltwater, it was off to the beach.

The first thing that you’ll notice if you ever find yourself on a Fla beach or pier is that if you see people fishing there is about a 99% chance they’ll be soaking a shrimp or cutbait on the bottom using a 3-way rig and lead weight. Sitting and waiting for fish to come to me isn’t my style though so with Phil’s input I had a much different gameplan to cast around the mouths of channels where water would move in and out with the tide. More than just helping me to put the plan together though was added confidence that I had from talking with someone who had experienced success in the past. Without it would have seriously been doubting my approach (maybe even given in and joined the shrimp soakers) before I finally hooked up as even Fla was experiencing unseasonable cold weather and the fishing was sloooww.

Well over 100 casts and multiple lure changes (Castmaster, X-Rap, Rippin-Rap, Jig/Plastic…) and finally while pitching a Silver VMC Tingler in front of bridge pilings and using slow sweeps of the rod to let the current of the dropping tide push my spoon into the pilings BOOM I finally connected… And not just an eater sized speckled trout that I was expecting, this was a Snook and he was pizzed off about being Tinglered! My 1st snook turned out to be only an upper 20’s inch fish, but while battling him I was envisioning about 40" as the fight was incredible especially on spinning gear. The closest comparison I can come up with is fighting a King Salmon on an 6′ medium action spinning rod.

I ended the day catching only one more snook, on a golden Castmaster, but I couldn’t have been much happier as just like James said on our SD trip, catching even one fish in a new location makes it a successful trip. Not only that but I was the only one on the beach who caught anything over about 12" long as the shrimp soakers did get a few small sheephead and a trout but nothing close the the fight that I got to experience.

It was pretty cool that I ran into several other guys on the beach also from MN, so if anyone else on here happens to be heading down to Ft Myers, or a similar location, feel free to look me up and hopefully I can help with some info just like Fancaster did for me… Which is exactly what makes it so special here on IDO!

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Will Roseberg

Having grown up in the small town of Malmo, Minn, fishing Minnesota‚Äôs famed Lake Mille Lacs, Will comes from a small group of anglers in-the-know on north-central Minnesota lakes. He developed his skills fishing the big lake and its surrounding Full Bio ›


  1. A couple more pics from our trip.

    Hunter’s first time fishing with daddy.
    My first trip to Bass Pro (Very very fun store)
    Only the essentials Harry (Dumb and Dumber reference)

  2. Great job Will!!! Two great guides among a lot other quality guides I am sure, but check out Ozzie Fischer or Ozzie Lessinger as well…


  3. Can’t wait for my yearly trIp to ft Meyers mom has been sending pictures of all the snook in my snook light on the dock.

  4. Good to read of your success and especially in Ft Myers area because I’m here until the end of March. This area totally new to me and very little saltwater experience. I’ve gone wading 3 days near the Sanibel tool bridge flat and caught mostly Lady fish on 1/8 jig and plastic. Heard this is a good spot but fishing has been slower than others have experienced in the past. Looking for more spots.

    I did pull my 16′ Lund down and only out once so far and not a lot of success. Working on the learning curve of how to cast into mangroves and what to use. Made it out to San Carlos pass and got into more Lady fish and small jacks. On way back into Mullock creek area I could see the tide moving well between shore and a small island. Moved close to the current seam and put on the I pilot anchor and had something on that ran as fast as when I had a barracuda on. Never got to see it as it kept running next to mangroves and I tried to slow it down via spool and broke off at the dbl uni. Same spot 15 min later a 4-5# jack and really pulled.

    Any IDO guys want to get together to compare notes send me a pm.

    Grey Beard

  5. I won’t be back down this year Grey but if you’re down there again next winter I would love to have someone to meet up with and do some exploring. There are a couple of fellow IDOer’s I’ve talked to make an annual trip to the area (CedarCreek and Fancaster) so I’d shoot them a PM and hopefully you can get out together.

    Good luck and I’d love to see some pics of your success!

  6. When my in-laws were alive they wintered in Port Isabelle Texas. I was lucky enough to tag along with a friend of theirs that had a boat. We would fish for Redfish in the Laguna Madre. It is some of the most fun I’ve ever had fishing, a great species to go after.

  7. just curious, what’s the cost of a temp fishing license? This is on my list as my brothers and I always send the spouse to Florida for a weeks “payback” trip. They always talk of those “shrimp soakers” and have some nice photo’s of their catch. Along with renting some beach bikes at a State Park this is something I’d be interested in trying. Awesome!

  8. Quote:

    just curious, what’s the cost of a temp fishing license? This is on my list as my brothers and I always send the spouse to Florida for a weeks “payback” trip. They always talk of those “shrimp soakers” and have some nice photo’s of their catch. Along with renting some beach bikes at a State Park this is something I’d be interested in trying. Awesome!

    Very reasonable. If I remember corrrectly it was only $17 for a 3 day license and around $30 for a 7 day. Note, they do sell separate licenses for saltwater and inland fishing so you would need to double that if you wanted to say chase bass on one day and fish speckled trout & Snook on another day.

    Also the local baitshops, or at least The Baitbox where I stopped, have a handy printout outlining the basic rules and regulations for various local species that you can get free.


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