How to Catch Snook: 5 Tips For Guaranteed Sucess

Pursuing Snook both inshore and nearshore makes for an exciting day of fishing, especially if you happen to land one of these lunkers. Pound for pound, Snook are one of the harder fighting fish you'll hook into and are known for their acrobatic leaps out of the water and for their long runs. If future fishing trips take you to waters where Snook abound, these 5 tips will shorten your learning curve when learning how to catch Snook.

Besides the 5 tips that we've listed, there are a few more pointers in this video that can help you land more Snook.

It's been my experience that Snook are one of the most cunning game fish to target inshore, and are also one of the most sought after fish by many anglers. However, many fishermen don't know how to go about catching them. The tips in the video, along with the 5 tips that we've listed below should help to improve your chances of landing a real trophy.

1. Pay Attention to The Changing Tides

Snook are very sensitive to tidal movements, so you'll want to plan your trip accordingly.

As ambush predators that feed primarily on bait fish, Snook rely heavily on tidal currents to bring them their food. If there is little or no tidal movement, Snook often won't feed, even if you entice them with a well fished artificial lure or live bait.

When planning your day of fishing, look up the tides for the area and try to go when the tides are changing, ideally when the tide is coming in, as high tide gives anglers many options for finding feeding Snook.

2. Current + Structure + Bait = Snook Heaven

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Snook love moving water. They love structure. And they love bait fish.

If you can find a place that has the perfect blend of current, structure and bait, it's very likely that you'll find Snook actively feeding.

While Snook are highly feared predators to small bait fish, they also have predators of their own.

You'll find Snook hanging out in structure like jetties, piers, docks, bridges and mangrove trees, both for their own protection from predators and to eat the bait fish that are in the structure for the exact same reason.

As mentioned in tip #1, Snook rely on moving water, so if you can find structure that's near a good tidal current, you're chances of hooking into a nice Snook will sky-rocket.

The last part of the equation is bait. If you find structure next to moving water, you're likely to find bait as well. And where there's bait, there's often Snook. A good way to make sure there's bait around is to look for birds.

If you see flocks of seabirds diving, you just found bait fish. But if your timing is off and you don't actually see the birds diving, look for other signs of birds. Are the rocks of the jetties covered in white bird guano? If so, you know that's a spot birds frequent and is likely to hold bait fish.

3. If Using Live Bait, Catch Your Bait Near Where You'll Be Fishing.

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When the blitz is on, Snook often key into certain species of bait fish, and while they're not too picky, their feeding efforts will be focused on those specific species.

To increase your chances of catching a Snook, it's a good idea to throw what their eating.

Mullet, Atlantic Croakers, Grunts, Ladyfish, Ballyhoo, Pigfish, Pinfish, Shrimp, and Pilchards are all bait you'll find Snook eating. It's also very helpful to match the size of your hook to the bait you're using for the most natural presentation.

Another tip is that if you're fishing in a heavy current, hook your live bait fish through the nose so they look like they're swimming naturally when being reeled in through the current.

If you're fishing in a light current, you can hook the bait through the tail so it can swim away from you in a natural way.

4. If Using Artificial Lures, Try to Match The Bait Fish in The Area.

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Just as fly anglers "match the hatch," you'll be more likely to get the attention of a hungry Snook if you're throwing a lure that looks like food he's currently eating.

There are many different types of plastic bait fish imitations that can closely match a Snook's forage.

If you find a good spot where you think some Snook are feeding but aren't sure what they're eating, try a bucktail jig. Bucktail jigs have great action in the water and can give the impression of a wide range of bait fish.

5. If You Hook a Snook, Steer It Away From Any Structure.

This tip is more about how to LAND Snook than actually how to catch Snook. As mentioned, Snook love structure, and you'll often be fishing very close to structure. When you do hook into a fish, it's likely that he'll run directly back into the structure and potentially break you off, so be prepared to steer the fish away from any structure as fast as you can.

If you're fishing in a boat or kayak, have whoever is steering be ready to re-position the boat, or back away from the structure so you don't get your line wrapped around a pier piling or a log.

A good way to prevent break offs due to structure is to use a good quality braid fishing line as well as a 50-60 lb fluorocarbon leader. ​

Final Thoughts

Fishing for Snook can be some of the most exciting fishing you'll do, especially when you know where to find them, how to get them to bite, and how to land them. And if you like to eat what you catch, Snook fillets are always a crowd pleaser.

Learning how to catch Snook takes time on the water, but if you use these tips you'll have a head start and be well on your way to Snook success in no time.

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