Fishing for Florida snook should be a bucket list requirement for any avid angler. You simply will NOT find a more ferocious inshore fish than the battle you’ll find with a snook on then end of your fishing line. While these fish can get + 40 inches, even the juvenile ages in this species are known to perform acrobatics on par with tarpon. In many parts of Florida, they have been aptly named “Mangrove Climbers”for their ability to dive into the cover of a nearby mangrove tree (and successfully cutting your line).
Cypress Boutique owner and avid angler, Sydney Schwartz shows off a beautiful Tampa Bay Snook she recently caught.
Snook are ambush predators and prefer to lie in wait and “snatch” bait caught in the incoming our outgoing tide currents.
The most important part of targeting snook is being able is to evaluate your area for 1.) Is this a Snook feeding ground 2.) Are the Snook feeding.
Both of these variables are critical as you can locate a great fishing spot that you know are holding Snook (docks, fishing hole etc.) and even see the fish but if they are not feeding you’ll do nothing more than spook them.
Luckily, finding good snook spots are not that difficult if you know where to look and we’ll show you a guaranteed way to determine if Snook are feeding below.
Remember, Snook LOVE Florida mangroves and structure, you can catch MONSTER snook by wade fishing, kayak or boat near any coastline in Southern Florida.
Here is an awesome quick snippet of angler Tyler St. John wade fishing for snook and nailing a beautiful snook hiding in the mangroves as we described.
There is really only 3 concepts you need to factor when targeting snook:
- What to bait snook with.
These three simple variables play a role in snook fishing in the entire state of Florida. In fact, as we personally travel Florida, we catch more Snook than any other species mainly due to the fact that these 3 key elements to Snook Fishing DO NOT CHANGE, anywhere!
As previously mentioned, Snook are ambush predators and their preferred method to catch fish is to attack prey as it moves with the current on the incoming or outgoing tide. Tides are the #1 way to know if Snook are feeding. If the water column is moving (incoming or outgoing tide) you can bet the Snook are feeding. Look for areas that have current like the turn in a mangrove or a bridge piling, those are the likely spots where a snook is lying in wait. We prefer to use a Tide App like Nestides to plan fishing trips around incoming or outgoing tides for a specific area right from the convenience of a phone or tablet. PRO TIP: you can extend your fishing by planning a “route” of tide markers and following those tide markers as the tide affects different areas. Click here for more information on fishing tidal spots.
Snook prefer to hang around structure for two reasons:
- Buffet Line – Smaller baitfish use structure like bridge pilings and mangrove roots to hide from snook and other predator species. A pinfish or shrimp have NO CHANCE out in the open against a powerful snook but if they can hide under a rock, old piling or mangrove root their chances of survival increase exponentially.
- Snook are food too – Oh yes…big snook make a great meal for other predators like Dolphin, Shark or Goliath Grouper. This structure again comes into play FOR snook in the same way; as a means to evade larger predators.
Check out this cool photos of a dolphin chasing a snook. Here is a little side story truth: Dolphin (Porpoise) are smart, lethal predators. If you think Flipper is a sweet mammal, think again…these fish need to feed like any other and love to make large snook a meal.
You’ve likely heard the term “Match The Hatch”? The same applies here, you want to bait snook with what they are feeding on. People will argue back and forth over the best snook bait or lures and certain times of the year but truthfully if you have the first two variables: Location & Tides then snook will eat just about any of these animals or lures meant to mimic the following baits:
However, selecting the ideal live bait for snook isn’t always that easy to determine so it’s often best to catch a few different types to see which one gets the most action.
Here’s a quick like of good baits for snook. While we prefer live bait, if you are an accomplished artificial bait user any lure that mimics these will work well. If you are using live bait, try to mount your hook away from the brain so that they live longer. Nothing is quite as irresistible as an injured baitfish or disabled shrimp. Snook Candy!
If you enjoy the look of these killer predators, check out our complete line of Snook fishing hats, snook decals, snook stickers and snook fishing shirts below.