Hook a Snook in Florida

By: Peter Miller, Bass 2 Billfish

Once you get the hang of it, you'll be hooked on fishing for snook.

One of only a few fish to change sex, common snook are male until they reach about 26 to 28 inches in length when they become female. Though there are actually four species of snook found in Florida, the three smaller species never exceed 18 inches, so most anglers fish for the common snook; a fish capable of reaching weights over 30 pounds.

Found in the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, snook are caught in the US from southern Florida to Texas. Revered for their fighting capabilities, snook have a devout following among in-shore anglers. Requiring skill and patience to land, snook are also prized for their mild taste and firm, white meat. Since it’s illegal to buy or sell snook, the only way to eat one is to catch it yourself.

Snook can be found in salt, fresh and brackish waters and prefer warmer water, heading south when water temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Preferring protected waters and passages, snook can often be found near docks, pilings, structures, and overhanging mangroves.

A hungry snook will hit a variety of bait including small live fish, shrimp or crabs. Artificial lures are also popular with anglers hunting snook. Fish-shaped soft and hard bodied lures, along with shrimp-tipped jigs and spoons, are among the favorites.  Because snook tend to like bait that passes right in front of its nose, top snook anglers have good casting skills that take them as close as possible to shore or structures without getting hung up.
Snook make for excellent nighttime fishing and tend to lurk in the shadows near lighted docks and seawalls.  Some anglers bring their own light using a Coleman lantern or other similar method to attract baitfish—meaning the snook won’t be far behind.
While snook fishing may require a little skill and finesse, once you’ve landed one of these beauties, you’ll be hooked.

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