The "Secret" Way to Hold Snook
Updated: Nov 4, 2021
Well, it's not really that much of a secret anymore...
I caught my first snook back around the early-mid 90's. Actually, I caught three that sweltering June afternoon, all on my spinning rod while tossing a Rapala jerkbait. They were all pretty small measuring maybe 18"–20" each, but for a teenage kid from California I was ecstatic. Being an avid bass fisherman I held those first snook and a fair number thereafter all by the lower lip. This seemed to work relatively well, but I do recall some of them wiggling a bit more than bass when held in this manner. The lip hold might be okay with smaller fish, but holding a lunker of any species by just the lower jaw can injure them.
It wasn't until I saw an episode of the great Walker's Cay Chronicles that I learned about a different and better way of holding snook. The host, fishing legend Flip Pallot, showed that if you slide your hand under a snook's midsection and just let the fish lay in your palm, it will remain perfectly still. I believe Flip called it the "Vulcan Snook Hold" or something like that. As he indicated, it works!
For many, many years now, this has been my preferred way of holding snook that are of a smaller size. I suppose it would work for much larger fish as well, but for these bigger snook it's much easier and more practical to hold them by the lower lip while the other hand evenly supports the body in a horizontal or near-horizontal way. Long ago I quit lifting snook fully out of the water by just the lower jaw. Nowadays, if I grab the jaw it's to initially get a hold of a snook in the water or simply to tilt the head up when removing a hook. Always use both hands to lift a big snook from the water...one on the jaw or tail while the other fully supports its body weight.
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