By Kelly Groce
Peeling drag, freight train runs, aggressive head shakes and full-body aerials; this is what one can expect when battling the elusive snook. Up until the 1940s snook were plentiful along the south Texas coastline, but due to commercial gill netting, their numbers dropped drastically. Although the population is on the up and up, catching a linesider is a very special moment. Especially when it’s a giant.
After jumping several juvenile tarpon at the jetties, Capt. Brian Barrera drove Capt. Lee Alvarez and myself to a spot where he had been seeing big snook. I’m not lying when I tell you that only minutes after arriving to the location, we could see schools of bait being harassed by jumbos. We all saw what was easily a 33-35” snook come full body out of the water as it was bullying mullet near a shoreline. I picked my lower jaw up off of the ground and started fishing. Capt. Lee Alvarez hooked up to a monster on his second cast. After several runs, Lee landed his new personal best snook coming in at 35”. We all caught over slots in a very short amount of time. Jumping tarpon and catching snook in the same day? To say I’m lucky is an understatement.
After a snook bite like that, how could you not go back the next day? So off we went, but this time with fellow outdoors writer and photographer, Danno Wise. I could barely grab my Shimano Teramar XX out of the rod holder before Capt. Brian hooked up to an absolute tank of a snook. That fish didn’t think twice about devouring his bait. It sounded like an enormous boulder being dumped into the water when it committed. I stood ready with the net, waiting for the fish to emerge. When it did, I became a whole lot more nervous about netting this one. After doing one last run, I successfully netted Brian’s monster catch and the celebrations ensued. Coming in at a whopping 38”, we took several photos and admired the beauty before releasing her back where she came from.
Capt. Brian Barrera has spent thousands and thousands of hours chasing and studying the common snook here on the Lower Laguna Madre. If you are interested in booking a trip for your chance at the elusive snook, please visit www.inshorefishingsouthpadre.com. Until next time.
Kelly Groce is a native Texan and water lover. She loves living on the third coast and be able to fish, surf, and enjoy nature on a daily basis. If she's not doing graphic design, photo-editing, or writing, she's enjoying the great outdoors with a camera in her hand.