Snook and Jacks


Snook like being around fresh water, but in the salt; it’s called brackish water. Snook are tolerant over a wide range of water salinity from freshwater to offshore saltwater. They are, however, extremely sensitive to temperature changes, particularly cold weather. Water temperatures below 60 deg. F can cause the Snook to go into shock or even die. In cold water areas, Snook can be found congregating in the warm water discharges of power plants. They normally tend to gather near shorelines, inlets and estuaries and prefer structures for shelter such as mangroves, rock formations and reefs. Snook like cover so they can intercept wayward neighboring minnows and have them for a snack. They can be very aggressive, attacking the fly with vigor and gusto, unlike bonefish, permit or tarpon.

When fishing flats for bones we’ll often move toward shore – or to the beach and mangrove roots to see if any snook are hanging out, waiting for a meal. It doesn’t seem all that uncommon to hook a snook, or have them follow the fly or even have them on for a minute or two. However, I’m continually amazed at their ability to escape. Snook are powerful, like to jump out of the water and swim fast into the mangrove roots they call home. Oh well. A hookup is a good thing. It gives the body a jolt of adrenaline that packs more punch than a strong cup of coffee.That is one of the reasons why it is one of the most sought after and prized gamefish to catch. Once hooked it’s strength and speed is hard to compare to any other game fish of its size.


Jacks can be anywhere on the flats. Unlike many of the neighbors, they will attack anything they can get their mouth around. While sloppy casts may frighten them away, it is more likely that a popper peeled along the surface of the water will cause them to strike and strike and strike again until they hook themselves. If the one after the fly misses, his buddy will probably take it. When I’m fishing around channels and other types of cover where the water is a little darker and deeper I’ll often tie on a popper and make a few blind casts. I’m not at all that surprised when jacks begin chasing and attacking the fly!