Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle

Information Page.

Brazilian Snook.

My third son, Richard, lives in Brazil and we've had several visits to see him and his family over the years. Each time I go Rich and I learn a bit more about the fishing over there and one of the most interesting approaches is catching snook on soft plastics from the shore. In fact we have done pretty well in January when I've been there but at other times of the year Rich has had a struggle to find the fish. We were beginning to wonder whether, by chance, the fish were only there in mid-winter but, at last, he's shown that the snook are present at other times. Here's his recent email, he starts off with a reference to my recent catch of seatrout -

Hi Dad,

Nice seatrout - the big one looked in absolutely mint condition.

As you know I haven't fished much recently due to a combination of moving house and work commitments. However, on Sunday we spent the day at Paulo's house, and our wives allowed us to spend the day fishing from the pier while they looked after the kids (for sure, we will have to pay for this some time in the near future!). Paulo's castnet was in tatters due to an unfortunate incident with a large crevalle the previous night,(Apparently he'd been catching baitfish and having seen a large jack he flung the net over it - it destroyed the net and escaped) so we were reduced to soaking prawns and handlining for livebait. To cut a long story short, the fishing was fairly hopeless - I missed two runs (probably catfish) and we caught a huge diversity (15 species) of small fish species, the highlight being a blue-winged sea robin on Paulo's handline.

Feeling frustrated, I decided to try spinning off the rocks at Mermaid beach the following morning. I arrived at 5am, about 1 hour before low tide and 10 minutes before sunrise. There was a light offshore breeze and a small swell: pretty good conditions for this spot. I started working may way along the rocks, casting and retrieving my trusty medium-sized black minnow. After about 10 minutes the minnow was hammered and I found myself connected to a lively, if rather small (about 6lb), snook. Though it fought gamely it was no match for the 30lb braid on a tight clutch, and I managed to slide it onto the rocks without too much bother. This was one for the pot (and the freezer) - delicious with a creamy coconut sauce.

Encouraged by my success I decided to try again the following morning. However, when I woke up at 4.20am the sky was an ominous black and there was a bit of a breeze blowing onto my balcony. Sure enough, when I arrived at the coast the breeze had picked up and a large swell was smashing into the rocks where I normally fish. It looked futile, but after all the effort to get up I thought I should at least give it go. By keeping my rod low I could propel the minnow about 20m into the filthy brown froth and fish between the waves. The line was picking up a lot of weed and it was proving fairly close to unfishable. After only 10 minutes I was on the verge of giving up when the line suddenly went solid - I immediately thought rock, but the line started pouring off the clutch and a large silver shape torpedoed out of the water. With the weed, waves and rocks I had quite a battle to land it, eventually beaching the fish on a large expanse of flat rock about 30m from where I hooked it. A beautiful 13lb snook in mint condition... unfortunately I had left my camera lying on the sofa so no photos.

Due to the tides I'll have to wait 10 days before I can fish the rocks again - seems like the snook are there in all conditions, though I may need to start using bigger lures if I want to catch a real monster like the one you had in January.



How about that? Thirteen pounds is a good snook by anyones standards. Pity I wasn't there to take a few pictures - I can't wait for the next set of suitable tides.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com

Richard's six pounder - they are beautiful fish aren't they?

Another spotty monster.'

A closer view of the lure - apparently the big fish destroyed it.

Another spotty monster.'