It honestly doesn’t get much better than snook fishing in Florida. There are giants all over the state, and they’re more than willing to play. Snook are active throughout the day and nights, highly susceptible to eat lures, live bait, and flies. By the end of this guide, I will have you set up and prepared you to learn how to catch snook.
To accurately tackle snook we have to know some key characteristics regarding their lifestyle. For example, if there is one thing you should take away from this article is that snook love cover. It provides safety for themselves, their offspring, and a ton of food.
Snook have a broad appetite and will survive on whatever is abundant in the area. They don’t have large sharp teeth so it’s safe to lip them. However, they have large gill plates that you have to take into account when planning tackle and handling these fish.
The good news is most spinning rods will do the trick for snook. You want a solid inshore rod with a little backbone in case you hook a giant. For an all-around setup, I would spool my reel up with 15# braid and a 30# leader.
It’s important to remember to match your fishing conditions. You should lighten your set up if you plan to sight fish on the flats and need a little more finesse. Likewise, beef it up if you want to float live bait under bridges and will battle strong current.
When targeting snook on fly, I would recommend an 8-9wt. You want more accuracy characteristics in this rod vs distance and strength. Targeting snook often requires casts into tight cover and you need to be as accurate as possible to avoid getting caught up.
I like to scale my bite tippet up a little for snook. Although, there isn’t much you can do if they wrap you in their gill plates. I find a 25-30# bite tippet will be the best defense without sacrificing too much stealth from your presentation.
Best Lures For Snook
I think the best lures for snook are a mixture of plastics and hard baits alike. Snook love shrimp! A D.O.A. or Gulp Shrimp lightly jerked across their path will trigger reaction bites all day.
We can not forget big fish, eat little fish, and snook are no different. A lightly weighted paddle tail swimbait like a Gambler EZ will have multiple snook fighting to eat.
Topwater baits will provide the most exhilarating eats. A Skitter walk or Super Spook will cause some insane topwater blow-ups. You will never forget the explosive eat of a giant snook smashing topwater lures.
When in doubt, I would resort to a bucktail jig. It is hands down the best search bait for snook and other species alike. Slowly and steadily bouncing a jig off the bottom will trigger reaction bites from snook that wouldn't otherwise eat.
Best Live/Natural Bait For Snook
No live bait is better for snook than live shrimp. For ease and productivity, shrimp will produce time and time again. Snook will also eat just about any baitfish. Small mullets are easy to find and catch yourself, plus they’re irresistible to snook.
Best Flies For Snook
The best flies for snook vary from location to location. However, the staples still apply in any region. A clouser will always get the job done and is a good search bait for a new territory where you may not know the depth. Another baitfish pattern that snook can’t resist is an EP baitfish pattern. Although keep in mind that these flies stay high in the water column.
To complete your snook fly box, you must include crustaceans. The mantis shrimp is a great simple shrimp fly that will have a school fighting for your fly. For slow-moving laid up snook, a black mantis shrimp slowly bumped along will trigger that lazy snooks instinct to feed.
Tips For Beginners
Take the tips from this article and use it as a base of information. More importantly, get out to the water with this in mind and start building your knowledge on snook and your surrounding areas. There's so much that will vary based on a specific location, and learning your area will take you from novice to master in no time.
Snook Fishing At Night
When targeting snook at night you have to remember you’re fishing based on structure not on visibility. The best structure you will find at night are bridges, large docks, and rocky areas. I would recommend focusing on live bait when fishing at night. You will most likely be dealing with a strong current so it would be difficult to get a lure in the right position and work it properly.
Top Snook Fishing Charter In South FL
If you’re looking for a guide in South FL for snook, look no further than Captain Jake Leon (305) 794-6691. He won’t charge you an arm and leg for a full day of fishing and he has the youth and energy to push you around the flats on his skiff all day.
Snook Fishing Season In Florida
For the most current snook fishing season and regulations please refer to the official FWC Snook Page. It is very important to make sure you’re licensed to fish in the state of Florida and follow all the regulations while on the water.