Inshore Fishing 101: How To Catch More Snook

Snook addicts are obsessed with the grab and fight. It’s a bit like pike in the ambush-style and the fish are beautiful, streamlined and flat-out tough. They are a favorite inshore species that are not easy to catch but will eat a large variety of flies and lures.

Snook are lurkers that ambush prey. They have large, distinct lateral lines that make them very sensitive and aware of movement. They can sense prey while hiding and snatch up quick meals without straying far. This makes cast placement extremely important.

How To Find And Understand Snook

snook fishing 101

Mangroves make perfect snook habitat but they also stalk flats and lurk in the surf. Areas with structure and the opportunity to hug the bottom, hiding from strong currents are ideal. Even in heavy surf, they will find depressions where sitting beneath the current creates an easy hiding place with ambush opportunities.

In terms of range, snook have a large distribution. Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic coast, and Central/South American coastlines extending south to Brazil have Snook. Interestingly, they also occupy a large portion of the Pacific with populations in Baja, extending south into Ecuador and Peru.

Lures and Flies that Crush Selective Snook

snook fishing 101
Soft plastic swimbaits rigged on a jighead works year-round for snook.

Snook are susceptible to jigs, spoons, flies, and various lures. Placement is the most important thing and many anglers prefer topwater lures and flies for the incredible surface strikes. They are opportunistic feeders but baitfish like mullet and sardines are common. Shrimp and crabs are also common food sources.

You want a stout rod and 20+ pound leaders to manage the bigger specimens which can top 40-50 pounds. Heavy leaders are also useful in mangroves and rocky habitats with snags. Getting the fish into the open is critical as they are difficult to land once back in the mangroves. 

Flies are no different. Tarpon style patterns that suspend are great but snook will attack a variety of streamers. Topwater poppers are also effective and fun to fish across the flats. 

Snook Fishing 101: Casting Accuracy Is Key

snook fishing 101
Lawson Lindsay with a quality Florida Snook

Blind fishing is a productive means of catching snook in areas where they are prolific. Sight fishing is not always possible and sometimes, working through the surf and common habitat zones is necessary. When the sun is right and the fish are working flats or visibly hunting, however, keep moving until you see a snook then make your cast. Anticipate the movements and cast in a way that makes your lure visible without spooking the fish. 

Sight Fishing for snook is the ultimate means of excitement but many monsters are taken by blindly working the surf and mangroves every year. Put in your time where snook are prolific and the rewards often come in big packages.

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