Taking Photos of Snook

By: Terry Tomalin

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Snook season closed May 1 in the Gulf of Mexico but you still can catch the legendary Florida linesider as long as you release the fish alive and unharmed.

Florida's management of snook is widely considered a conservation success story. One reason is because over the years an increasing number of anglers have embraced catch-and-release fishing for snook, even when the season is open to harvest.

The species is particularly hardy in this respect. Studies by state biologists show that 98 percent of snook, a higher percentage than red drum or spotted seatrout, survive upon release.

If you catch a snook during the closed season, be sure to take photograph to show friends and family back home. Nothing beats a good fish picture, but you would be surprised just how many people can’t seem to get it right.

With that in mind, here are a few tips for photographing fish.

The first thing to remember, get the light right. Even on a sunny day, a flash can help bring out the natural colors of a fish. A flash also helps remove the shadow cast by ball caps, favored by most fishermen on the water.

Anglers should remember to always shoot with the sun at their back. If not, the picture will look washed out. And when that sun is at your back, be mindful of your own shadow.

A clean background is also important. Shoot with a blue sky and blue water in the background. Don't wait until you get back to the boat ramp or even worse, your driveway, to shoot the picture. Keep the background simple and natural.

Eliminate as much clutter (fishing rods, tee tops, etc.) from the photograph as possible. Look at the details before you shoot. If your subject is shirtless, wait until they cover up; nothing ruins a great fishing photo like a trophy-sized beer belly.

Another common mistake is that many anglers stand too far from the subject. Get close. When you look through the viewfinder, fill up the frame with the angler and the fish.

In most fishing shots, the angler holds the fish horizontally, which means you'll have a lot of sky or water in the frame. To counter that, have your subject hold the fish at an angle.

I always keep a camera, or a smart phone, handy just in case I land a big one. You should do the same. In the Fishing Capital of the World, you never know what you’ll catch. 

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