What’s not to like about snook? They’re challenging to catch, fight hard, jump and, when in season, are delicious on the plate. Snook are even expanding their range from Jacksonville south and back up the Gulf into Florida’s Big Bend. Snook aren’t just caught in Florida though, as they can be found year-round in South Texas. Other places too. If you fish the surf in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, you might catch the biggest snook of your life. Shrimp, mullet and pilchards top the live bait list, but there are several styles of lures that fool ‘em too. Here are the seven deadliest snook lures of all time.
Swim Baits for Snook
Soft-plastic lures that imitate finger mullet and other prime forage require no live wells, only a sharp hook. D.O.A. BaitBusters, Magic Swimmers and LiveTarget Mullet provide enticing action in a variety of depths simply with a slow steady retrieve. Natural patterns are good, although many snook (nicknamed “linesiders” because their prominent horizontal black line) have come to the net on classic red head-white body combos.
Suspending Plugs for Snook
Suspending plugs are effective in current with a slow twitch and pause presentation. These hard baits are ideal for working near the surface around docks, seawalls, bridge pilings and other structure. Rapala X-Rap Twitchin’ Mullet, MirrOlure MirrOdines, Unfair Lures, Yo-Zuri and Halco are good choices in this category.
Jigs for Snook
A jighead and soft bait combo might be the most versatile lure to catch snook. The weight of the jighead makes it easy to cast, and the action of the soft bait elicits strikes readily. Top soft baits are available from Z-Man, Berkley Gulp!, Storm, D.O.A. and plenty of others. Anglers often use jigs to catch snook when fan-casting an area, unsure of the exact areas snook are holding. Always keep some jigs in your tackle box. One unique jig for snook is called the “flare hawk” jig, or something similar. The beefy jig excels at the bottom, near bridge pilings, in deep water with active current.
Shrimp Lures for Snook
A well-placed fake shrimp in a pot hole or skipped under docks will often trigger explosive strikes. Natural colors are never wrong, but sliver glitter or holographic some-times catches their eye. D.O.A., LiveTarget, VuDu, Z-Man and Gulp! lead the charge. Each lure maker offers slightly different variations of shrimp imitations, but they are very productive. The most common mistake anglers make with shrimp lures is working them too fast.
Jerk Baits for Snook
Soft jerk baits with their enticing tail action is another proven snook-catcher. Rigged weedless with stout wide gap worm hooks, weighted swim bait hooks, or simply nose-hooked with a short shank live bait or circle hook and twitched erratically will do the trick. The soft jerk baits imitate a fleeing baitfish that snook can’t resist. Rigged weedless, jerkbaits are perfect to skip-cast underneath mangrove overhangs for snook. Add a bit of scent to your bait for extra attraction.
Spoons for Snook Fishing
The classic Johnson weedless gold or silver spoon retrieved with a slow, steady wobble has fooled many snook. The Aqua Dream Living willow blade variety in white is a good imitation of a wounded white bait (pilchard). Spoons work well when fishing near deeper grass flats, as the metal tends to deflect weeds.
Flies for Snook Fishing
With a seductive pulse and broad profile, the Deceiver fly has deceived its share of trophy fish over the years. Olive over pearl or chartreuse over white with a couple strands of flash will certainly attract attention.
Spun deer hair patterns like the Dahlberg Diver move a lot of water and cause commotion. Natural colors are good, but don’t be afraid to add a little pizazz to the pattern.