Conventional wisdom maintains that in the winter snook head upstream into the rivers and canals in search of warmer water and baitfish. Most magazines and fishing periodicals will tell you to head upstream too if you want to catch a snook.
However, due to the remarkably warm fall and winter [so far] we are enjoying in Southwest Florida, the beach is still HOT and full of snook feeding on the bait that is still around. The resulting warm gulf temperatures [still in the 70’s] make for some great fishing while you enjoy a day on the beach.
Following our tradition of fishing on Jan 1 no matter what, we found ourselves fishing a great bite on the beach north of Boca Grande on a sunny 86F afternoon. We took a bucket of shrimp in anticipation of a whiting, sheepshead, or drum dinner but only caught snook, one right after the other on nearly every cast. Simply free lining the shrimp in the trough just past the curl on the beach was the ticket. Two feet of 20 lb. fluorocarbon, with a 2/0 Octopus hook and a small split shot above it to get it away from the seagulls was just right.
So, don’t always believe the sage advice you read. Be sure and consider the weather, tides, and water temperatures so you can find quality fish where others aren’t even looking. Have fun and remember snook season is closed around here until March so release them gently.