The Bullseye Snakehead
The Bullseye Snakehead offers the S. Florida Angler one of the best table fares, fight and most aggressive hits you can encounter when fishing our S. Florida canal systems. The fish can be caught both day and night, but the nighttime fishery, much like snook fishing is a whole other animal.
The below video is of a recent trip my buddy and I filmed, which could give you a little more insight as to how this fishery pans out.
Where to Find Bullseye Snakeheads.
First let me establish, where this species can be targeted. Ranging from canal systems south to N. Miami and stretching all the way North to Wellington/ West Palm Beach. Not all canals have them, but do a little web surfing and you will find a plethora of spots.
Secondly these are highly ambush oriented predators, which seek structure to hide in. Snakeheads love to sit in cutouts in the canal, culvert pipes, under palm fronds and anything overhanging into the water.
Snakeheads are HIGHLY sensitive to vibrations and have to be stalked to entice a bite. In general, if they see you before you see them, it's game over and time to move on to the next fish. However at night these fish tend to be a little more forgiving then the daytime and are often found out in the open, along the edge of the bank, often without any structure near.
With this background information in mind, lets jump into the tackle you will need.
Tackle to tackle the Bullseye Snakehead.
When targeting snakeheads an ideal setup is a 7-7/12 ft medium heavy to heavy Bait-casting setup (like a flipping stick) with 65b Bullbuster Braid. Braid really is prefered, as it allows for strong hooksets, less mouth cutoffs, better presentation of your lure and no stretch when it comes to flipping them on the bank. A spinning reel will work, but you will have difficulty flipping fish onto higher banks unless you are fishing heavier 50+ class braid and a stout rod, which is not ideal for artificial fishing with soft plastic baits, like those employed in snakehead fishing. As far as lures are concerned, do not get hung up on one, these fish are not that picky and 99.9% of all soft plastic frogs and hollow body frogs will work. The presentation of your lure, predominates over the price tag if you catch my drift.
One of the most vital components to catch snakeheads at night successfully is a flashlight. Now, I'm not talking about some flashlight you've had in your hurricane kit for a decade and it barley flickers with all new batteries. You need a high lumen, focused light. The reason being that these fish are sensitive to vibration and the further away you can spot them, the higher the likelihood you will provoke them to eat.
Once you have your body of water picked out, focus on the shallower portions as snakeheads are easier to spot in shallower water and are easily visible as they do not have the option of laying deep on the bottom, where they are excellently camouflaged.
Walk the bank slowly with your light shining parallel to the edge of the water. These fish will be sitting right up on the edge to 5ft out, but generally within this range.
Let him eat.
Once spotted, immediately turn off your light and cast your lure a little ways past where you saw the fish. Slowly reel it past them and wait for the infamous loud pop you will hear. Once a snakehead eats, make sure you LET HIM EAT. These fish have relatively small mouths and take 1-2 seconds to really get the lure in their mouth.
Sometimes they take multiple casts to get comfortable to eat or really key in on your lure, but they are very aggressive and want to kill anything that swims past them . If I could stress one thing and one thing only, it is to invest in a decent flashlight capable of spotting these fish from at least 10ft away clearly.
To this day people still look down upon this fish, but it has grown to be one of my favorite species to target.
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