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Home / Fishing / Articles

Articles:Avid Contributors:

Fish Camp Snook Fishing
BY: Capt. Ray Kelly

This past January I had the pleasure of fishing with one of the most knowledgeable and personable guides I have ever fished with. His name is Capt. Rufus Wakeman. Capt. Rufus and I hooked up via the internet. I had contacted THE RIVER PALM COTTAGES AND FISH CAMP website at I wanted to see if they would be interested in getting involved with our television show, ADVENTURES IN FISHING. Capt. Rufus emailed back and said they would get involved. Capt. Rufus is the owner of River Palm and one of the best Charter boat captains in the area. He operates a back country boat as well as an offshore boat. I knew this would make for an excellent show for ADVENTURES IN FISHING. He told me we could film snook one day and sailfish the next day. Needless to say, I was excited.

We drove down to Florida in our van. My wife, Cheryl and cameraman, Keith Cotton, were wondering what this Fish Camp would look like. I must say that I also had some thoughts that it may not be very fancy. To our surprise, we were very impressed when we arrived at THE RIVER PALM COTTAGES AND FISH CAMP. This was a resort. A beautiful resort overlooking the Indian River. The Cottages were immaculate. We would be staying in the 4 bedroom/2 bath house located on the bank of the Indian River. River Palm also has a motel, pool and an authentic Seminole Indian thatched roof chickee hut. We were greeted by soft breezes, lush tropical trees and native plants that surrounded the tin roofed pastel colored cabins. River Palm has 23 guest quarters scattered among 7.2 acres for the guests to unwind, relax and fish.

The filming was scheduled for 6:00 AM the following morning but we awoke to rain and the trip was postponed until the next day. Capt. Rufus arrived trailering his Maverick flats boat. He instructed us to follow him to the boat ramp which was 10 minutes away. He launched the boat, fired up the engine. He said the fishing was usually excellent in the area. He also said that the fish may be a little shy this day since this was the coldest day (38 degrees) of the year so far. As we motored down the St. Lucie River, Capt. Rufus told us about the area. I must say the river was beautiful with itís wildlife. The egrets and osprey were a sight to see. Capt. Rufus pointed out a low bridge and said this was one of the best snook fishing spots. I could not wait to cast a rod. Rufus said we would be using DOA TERROREYZ jigs. He nicknamed the lure we would using as the Brown Dog because as he says it sniffs out the fish. DOA lures are like candy for a snook. He went onto say there were four species of snook that inhabit the river. The four species are the common snook, the fat snook, the tarpon snook and the swordspine snook.

On Rufusí first cast his rod started to bend. He hooked up and battled the fish while Keith filmed the action. I asked him if he could tell what type of fish it was during the fight. Rufus said he thought it was a snook. Sure enough, when the fish came alongside the boat it was a snook. It was a common snook of about 18 inches. Capt. Rufus said he promotes catch and release with his clients. Snook have to be at least 26 inches to keep during the open season. Snook season was closed anyway so all the snook this day would be released.

Rufus explained "You just want to give little jerks of the rod tip. Make the lure just hop along the bottom." Five minutes later, I hooked into a fish. Needless to say I was hoping it would be a snook and it was. This snook was a fat snook. It measured about 16 inches. Keith captured the action with the camera.

Rufus explained the snook like to hide by the pilings of the bridge and ambush the bait as it swims by. Rufus caught another snook which was another common snook. He was right the DOA lures are like candy to snook. Rufus explained that he uses a loop knot when tying on the lure which allows it to swing freely and give it more action. He was using light tackle which allowed to have a nice fight when catching these snook. He explained that during the summer months, an angler can catch monster snook in the twenty pound class in the inlet. He invited us back to film that type of fishing which we will do for another episode of ADVENTURES IN FISHING.

Rufus decided to change locations and head further up the river as he had heard there were some big jacks in that area. Jacks are Jack Crevelle. The jacks would be 10 pounds and bigger. Jack Crevelle give an angler a fight that he or she will remember. The fight reminds me when you catch a big bluefish. Anyone who has caught a large bluefish knows what I am talking about. We headed up to marker 25 but the jacks were not there. After an hour or so of no action we decided to have lunch. We enjoyed the relaxation and the different birds that were entertaining us while we ate.

We headed back down the St. Lucie and Rufus pointed out the Route 1 Bridge and old train bridge and said that was another excellent snook location. Keith climbed onto one of the bridge abutments for a better shot and as soon as he did I hooked up with a fish. I just hoped the fish would not break me off on the bridge piling. I have to admit I am not that experienced when it comes to snook fishing and was lucky enough to land this snook. It was a swordspine snook. The swordspine is the smallest of the snook. Rufus explained how these snook only grow to about 15 inches. I have to say the fish was small but beautiful and was released. It is always a great site to see a caught fish swim away to freedom.

Rufus was explaining how sometimes they have caught as many as 40 snook in a few hours at this location and he hooked up. This fish gave him a better fight. As the fish came to the surface, you could see it was a larger snook. It was a Tarpon Snook. Rufus explained how the fins was larger and had more yellow. The also have larger eyes are are more silver in color. This fish was also released for another angler to enjoy catching some day. Snook fishing is also a great way for children to get involved in fishing so when you go, take a child with you. Needless to say, we produced an excellent television show that day.

I must say Rufus was one of the most professional and friendly captains I have had the pleasure to work with. There is no doubt you will have a great time if you fish with him also. There is only one way to do it-call him. You can call him at The River Palm Cottages and Fish Camp at 1-800-305-0511 or on the internet at You can also contact ADVENTURES IN FISHING at 631-744-5951 or on the web at And Remember- "Letís get kids hooked on Fishing NOT on drugs!"


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