Outdoors columnist for The Herald-Palladium

Multiple species rule at Manasota Key

Kevin Nakada displays a nice snook he caught among the mangroves that line parts of Lemon Bay off Southwest Florida’s Manasota Key.

MANASOTA KEY, Fla. — Under the predawn pitch-black sky, ripples tickling the plastic hulls of our kayaks provided the background sound to rhythmic back-and-forth swishes of the Hobies’ pedal drives. It was easy to pretend we were Navy SEALs, preparing to take out bad guys at oh-dark-thirty.

Instead, Hobie Kayaks’ Kevin Nakada and I were heading towards the Southwest Florida mangroves, where he had said good night the evening before to some overgrown snook—one of the most marvelous gamefish in the world. These silver torpedoes are known for smashing surface lures, jumping high out of the water and going on bulldog runs back into tangled roots.