Slob Snook Fishing in Florida: The Complete Guide

Jan 11, 2023 | 5 minute read Comments
49
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Snook are among the most popular fish species in Florida. From Jupiter down to the Florida Keys, then northwards to Naples, and further up towards Destin, these fish capture the attention of both novice anglers and experienced fishermen. While Snook are quite common, catching a big one (aka Slob Snook) is not an easy feat. Today, we’re going to share some tips on how to land your next slob fish in Florida waters.

Best Trophy Snook Fishing in Florida

Florida inshore waters are rich in Snook. You can easily get a 5-pounder on almost any trip, whichever time of the day you’re out on the water. Anglers argue heatedly about the best Snook fishery: some claim it’s Jupiter while others cite Boca Grande as the ultimate Snook mecca. Our verdict is that you should try all of them.

Pro tip: the latest record fish was caught in Sebastian, back in August 2015. It weighed an incredible 45 lb, 12 oz. So why not start there?

As a rule of thumb, you should look for fast flowing waters near passes and inlets, where the big fish can easily forage for food. Although Snook might appear timid, don’t be tricked by their seemingly spooky nature. These fish are aggressive feeders, and the big Snook will gulp a 12-inch mullet with no abandon.

Top Slob Snook Locations

In addition to Jupiter and Boca Grande, Florida anglers mention Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Sanibel, and the Fort Myers area as premier Snook fishing destinations.

How Do I find and Catch Snook?

Two anglers on a boat with one of them holding a large Snook, Sarasota, Florida
This photo was taken by Aquaholic Fishing Charters

Start by fishing areas where the fish can easily find shelter. Snook hide around grass flats, mangroves, oyster beds, and bridges. As Snook can live in both fresh and saltwater, don’t limit your search to salty waters only. Look for brackish waters – that’s where the big fish will be hiding.

Big Snook are skittish and rarely move around open waters. You can find them around any kind of structure in the water where they feel cozy and protected. The same goes for nearshore waters – check for reefs and wrecks. This is both an advantage, as you can identify their shelter with ease, and an issue: once Snook are hooked, they will swim fast towards shelter. It’s no fun trying to retrieve your lure from a Snook’s lair. If the fish pulls your line deep into the mangroves, you’re likely going to lose them.

Fishing for Snook depends a lot on the season. The slob fish will move around estuaries, inlets, and bays from April until September, and then gradually start migrating towards rivers and piers, looking for cover around trees, mangroves, and other water structure.

One more thing to consider is the water temperature. You will find Snook in warm waters, almost exclusively. They can’t stand the cold and avoid it at all cost. So the best time to fish for them is from spring to early fall when the waters are warm.

Slob Snook Fishing Tips

A male angler standing on a boat and holding a large Snook caught with JP's Backwater Adventures in Naples,  Florida
This photo was taken by JP’s Backwater Adventures

Since Snook are easily scared, you need to be extra careful about how much noise you make. Don’t speak loudly. You will mostly be fishing in sheltered areas, such as mangrove-lined shores, brackish waters, or bridge pilings. Any noise is a potential red alert for Snook.

Beside that, try not to make too much noise by walking loudly on the boat. Keep the excitement to yourself at least until you’ve hooked a big one.

To catch Snook, you need to cast your bait or lure up-current from the fish. First, locate a Snook lair, sneak up to the spot, cast the bait and let the water carry it naturally towards the fish. You will have the best chances of a catch if you deceive Snook by having it mistake your bait for their natural prey. Once the tide carries your bait past the fish, they will go at it.

When it comes to the best time for trophy Snook fishing, a general rule is to fish the hours just before the incoming tide and two hours before the ebbing tide. This will give you enough water movement, which is essential when chasing these fellas. Another rule of thumb to follow is to fish for Snook just after rainfall.

But the best time to catch a really big Snook is at night. The fish will move from the bottom towards the surface to feed. For the highest chances of success, try fishing dock lights for Snook. Use lures, such as bottom jigs or swimmer bait, artificial crabs, and shrimp, or go with live bait, such as menhaden, mullet, or sardines. During the summer, when Snook are active, you can get lucky with casting topwater baits and plugs.

Most Productive Trophy Snook Techniques

A male angler wearing eyeglasses, sitting on a charter fishing boat operated by Florida Professional Charters and holding a large Snook, Tampa, Florida
This photo was taken by Florida Professional Charters

Snook fishing is a versatile activity. To get a slob, you can either try sight casting or fly fishing. Sight casting works well around the beaches in Sanibel and Captiva.

When the fish feed actively, during the summer months, you should use fast lures, and then gradually move to slower lures as colder days kick in and the fish’s metabolism slows down.

Fly fishing around these beaches, especially during June and July, can be supreme. Working white flies early in the morning can get you a 20-pounder in no time. Just make sure to come out on the water before the scores of vacationers who stay here each summer.

Kayak anglers and those with flats boats, or smaller center consoles, love fishing for Snook around grass flats. It’s supreme light tackle action. You can fish for these trophy fish with soft plastics or topwater bait.

How to Handle Slob Snook

A drone view of the charter fishing boat operated by Lock it Down Sportfishing in Florida
This photo was taken by Lock it Down Sportfishing

Back in 2010, the Snook population in Florida suffered a blow when a cold front caused a major freeze of Florida waterways. Hundreds of fish died in the cold water, but luckily Snook have come out strong and are recovering. So why do we mention this?

When you catch your trophy fish, make sure to hold them horizontally, with both hands. Get your photo, then let the fish go. You want the fish to suffer as little stress as possible, so help them survive the fight.

Now, let’s hear from you. What was the biggest Snook you ever caught? Where did you catch it and what lure/bait did you use? Where do you think the best place to catch slob Snook is? Let us know in the comments below.

Comments (49)
  • Samantha

    Oct 26, 2022

    Hello,
    I do a lot of bridge and jetty fishing at night, and I always see a ton of snook. I have yet to catch one using mullet, croakers, shrimp, and a paddle tail jig. I literally go just after dark and often have stayed through sunrise. I notice the fish will pick up a live bait, then immediately drop it. I use a 40lb leader, a sliding egg weight, and a 5/0 circle hook. I’ve also hooked the live baits through every possible part of their body. The frustrating thing is that I can see they are actively eating. What am I doing wrong?

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Jeff

      Jan 20, 2023

      Come to Florida from wi. Catch snook all the time 8lb test , white paddle tail DOA day or night. Your Leader way to Heavy

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • John T.

    Jun 22, 2022

    I live in the Stuart area (moved from NY a couple years ago), and live very close to a bridge that has dozens if not hundreds of small to medium snook holding fast in the shadow lines at night. They feed on tiny baitfish and slap and slurp the entire outgoing tide. The problem, is these fish will RARELY touch ANYTHING you throw at them. I’m a 100% lure guy, but even the bait guys hardly ever catch a single fish. I’ve thrown tiny, medium and large swimming plugs, jigs, swimbaits – you name it. We jokingly call these fish at this spot “the snook of a million cast” because you could fish for 3-4 hours each night for a week straight casting and maybe catch 1 fish.
    Questions: are these fish just so jaded from seeing every lure known to man that they’re just not catchable? Is there a different technique (i.e., fly fishing) that might be more productive?

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Lisa

      Jun 23, 2022

      Hi John,

      Thank you for reaching out. Yep, Snook tend to be pretty stubborn! Fly fishing for them actually seem like a good idea!

      Let’s see what other anglers suggest.

      Lisa

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Mark

    Mar 22, 2022

    @SteveDolan. Quit whining…
    Great article. I found it as I was wondering about specifically catching snook.
    Grew up on Siesta Key. Caught many site fishing the beaches in summer. But, the biggest around here were always in May/June at the North Jetty south end of Casey Key early mornings before sunrise. Good times.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

  • STEVE DOLAN

    Jun 17, 2021

    “You can rasily catch a 5 pounder on almost any trip, any time of the day.” It depends on your location in Florida, water clarity, tides, and bait selection. I am currently in Siesta Key Florida and managed an 8 pound beach snook on a live pinfish the other day. A personal best for me because I usually go to Islamorado and get skunked there. the water clarity has been terrible on this gulf this week. Sightfishing is not possible. Its not like fishing for trout. It takes skill and practice. And why do we need more people fishing for snook? Stop promoting it. Terrible piece.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Katie

      Jun 17, 2021

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your feedback. We always appreciate hearing local perspectives on fishing, and it’s clear that this is a topic that means a lot to you. Our article isn’t attempting to promote Slob Snook fishing, but to instead offer advice and guidance to anglers who are seeking out this type of fishing and are in the Florida area.

      Regarding the sentence you highlighted about easily catching 5-pounders, we understand that this is dependent on water clarity and location, and can amend the blog to reflect this.

      We hope this response helps you understand our perspective, and please let us know if there are any other questions you have for us.

      Thanks,

      Katie

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Mike T

    Apr 30, 2021

    Hi,

    I am headed to Marco Island in early June and have never fished for Snook. Do you have some suggestions for a rookie salt water fisherman?

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Sean

      May 4, 2021

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for reading.

      The key to finding Snook is getting to the right spot. These fish like to hang around shallow waters or structure, but they’re also very easily scared. That’s why you’ll want to get to a secluded area, like a mangrove-lined estuary. Thankfully, there are loads of those around Marco Island.

      If you can, try using a kayak to get to the most pristine spots. There’s a several kayak launches around town. For example, the one under the Goodland Bridge should give you access to some of the best spots in the area. If you need to stock up, the Goodland marina is less than a mile away.

      If kayak fishing is not your thing, try fishing around shallow water structure, like bridge pylons.

      You can use some of the baits we mentioned in the article, but it’s always good to inquire about what’s been working lately at the local store.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Jed Christensen

    Apr 27, 2021

    Hey!
    Love the read, I’m heading down to Cape Coral here in may and have access to a boat at my convenience. I’m just southeast of the Matlacha pass National wildlife refuge and was wondering what kind of areas you would best suggest for that area? Also was curious as too what techniques you would most suggest when fishing with live bait? Thanks so much!

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Sean

      Apr 27, 2021

      Hi Jed,

      Thanks for reading, I’m glad you liked the article.

      Casting a line around Matlacha Pass is a great idea! Try fishing around the mangroves at Lanier Key, that area has some really nice Snook. In terms of baiting, menhaden and mullet should serve you well.

      I’d recommend checking out the comments section in our Cape Coral article, it really has a wealth of information.

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Jake Haag

    Apr 26, 2021

    Hi,

    I live on a tiny brackish water canal, I see huge snook come up and down it. When would be the best time to catch them and what are some good bait? Thank you!

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Sean

      Apr 26, 2021

      Hi Jake,

      Thanks for reading.

      Snook are most abundant between May and September. To give yourself the bet chance of landing one, aim your outing for dawn or dusk, when the tides are changing. Dusk can be particularly good in late summer.

      As far as baits Snook will go for anything from shrimp, to menhaden to mullet and pilchards. If you’d prefer to use lures, jigs and spoons work well, but you can even use topwater plugs when Snook come up to feed.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Riley

    Jul 19, 2020

    Hey!
    Me and my family have a place for the week with a dock out back in the mangroves, hooked a few small ones during the day then at night I got one to hit a white swimmer a few feet from the dock! Lots of fun but not super big, any tips to target the larger ones? We’ll probably use shrimp, again at night we’ll walk out and see 20-30 gathered by our light out there. We’re in Captiva. Very helpful article!

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Jul 20, 2020

      Hi Riley,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I’m glad you found it helpful!

      Yup, fishing at night is a great idea. It can also be much more enjoyable than sitting out in the heat of summer.

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      sheila faye Cunningham

      Apr 27, 2021

      Where can I buy snook from. I live in st peterburg fl.

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Sean

      Apr 27, 2021

      Hi Sheila,

      You can buy freshly caught seafood from some of the local bait & tackle shops in St. Petersburg.

      There are also a couple of seafood markets around town that you can check out.

      A simple Google search for “fresh seafood st petersburg fl” should point you in the right direction.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Matter Faddy

      Feb 16, 2021

      Snook are extremely aggressive and are often caught from what we call a “reaction strike”. I feel live bait is the best BUT I use lures more often. White body with a red head works best for me here in Sarasota, FL. The selection to pick from is up to you, everything from the $2.99 Bomber to the $12.99 Yosuri

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Brayden

    Jul 15, 2020

    Hey there!
    Me and my fam will soon be going down to Melbourne. Any tips for big snook down there? Thanks!

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Sean

      Jul 16, 2020

      Hi Brayden,

      Thanks for reading!

      First of all, I’d recommend that you drop your lines either early in the morning, or at dusk. This is when baitfish like to congregate around underwater structure, and that’s a feast Snook won’t say no to. Look for rocky bottoms, mangrove-lined shorelines, or any large underwater structure.

      The type of presentation really depends on where you’re fishing, but during the summer when Snook are active, fast lures should work really well.

      Other than that, the tips we mentioned in the text above should serve you well, no matter where you decide to drop the line.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Good luck!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Nate

    Jul 6, 2020

    Hey Sean,
    I am a kayak fisherman and thus far the Snook have eluded me. I reside in the Fort Myers area and was wondering where the hotspots were here. The local bait shop are not too forthcoming or they keeping it a secret. I know last year’s red tide here had a devastating impact on the fish population, hope the snook here are making a comeback.

    Thanks,
    Nate

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Jul 6, 2020

      Hi Nate,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      The red tide did have a terrible effect on local Snook numbers, but there are still fish out there. Check out the backcountry in Four Mile Cove or head down to Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island – they’re both great Snook spots.

      If you’re looking for something more specific, my best advice is to go out on a short Snook fishing charter. It’s honestly the best way to find those hidden spots that people don’t want to share.

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Matter Daddy

      Feb 16, 2021

      Nate, I live just north of you in Sarasota and want to tell you what works for me. I feel night fishing for Snook during incoming tide around any type of light. I look for lights on bridges, docks or even underwater decor lights. I feel and lure with a white body and red head works best for me. Bombers, Rapala’s Rat-L-Traps, Zara Spooks ect

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Calloway Carswell

    May 22, 2020

    My biggest snook is 43 inches, and 35lbs in Stuart, Florida on artificial

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      May 25, 2020

      Hi Calloway,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      What a monster! Stuart sure does have a great Snook bite.

      What kind of lure did you use?

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Jim

    Dec 20, 2019

    Fished Ponce Park (Punta Gorda) last year in January and caught nothing. The bait guys were doing OK.
    Stopped at a “pond” at a condo development to practice casting my fly rod with weighted flies, and surprise surprise, the darn pond held a LOT of snook. Nothing very big, but great fun.

    Appreciate the tips in the article.

    This year I’ll use a sinking line and a few different, and smaller, flies. For the ponds, if warm, some surface flies.

    Any tips for fly fishing would be welcome

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Jimmy lee

      Apr 24, 2020

      Fishing on vacation…area of stump pass/Engle wood.. I’ve caught a few large snook using trout heads long as they are within legal limits to take a few to eat. Large heads work the best, but since closure in the area I vacation mullet and half a ladyfish works well. During afternoon hours big snook lull under boats in the shade,, need some current. Drop bait behind or along side..be ready hang on the hit will come does take some time. Because I fish in close quarters with boats and motors down/ crustie pilling. I use a Boca 80 with a 7ft heavy action slammer loaded with 65lb power pro…and 60 foot of power pro 150lb test.2 ft of 200 lb test shock and 8ft of 300 lb seven strand cable and 10/0 j hook no circles when he hits you set hard most times he will run direction is head turns.sounds like overkill but trust me you be glad your prepared///with cable he can go around pilligs/65 from reel spider hitch 150 to 65 reverse Albright and cable takes sleeves doubled up .. lost to many large fish trying to be sportsman like…this with help your odds! PS you will need some help staying down in the boat or not getting pulling off the dock these big fish will hurt you.

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Apr 27, 2020

      Hi Jimmy,

      Thanks for getting in touch. That’s quite a write-up!

      We look forward to getting back out and battling big Snook soon.

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Connie Claire

    Jul 21, 2019

    I’m in Longboat Key and I saw 5 yesterday!!! They didn’t want to have anything to do with my fake lure! 😂. Today I’ll try my plug. 👍

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Sean

      Jul 22, 2019

      Hey Connie,

      Thanks for sharing.

      Fingers crossed, hope you catch a big one.

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Chris

    Jun 28, 2019

    Hello

    I will be in Santa Rosa in August, looking for tips on brackish flies to use?

    Thanks

    Chris

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Jul 1, 2019

      Hi Chris,

      Sounds like you’re in for a great time!

      As always, you’ve got a couple of options depending on how the fish are behaving.

      You can either try working floating flies like Dahlberg Divers around thick backcountry cover, or go for sinking flies like Deceivers or Bentbacks if the Snook aren’t biting on the surface.

      We’ve actually got a guide to fly fishing in nearby Pensacola which might have some useful info for you.

      I hope that helps!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Matt Church

      Jun 20, 2020

      I caught the state record I believe in Capecanaveral May 31 2020 on a rattle trap 51 lbs5o inches

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Jun 22, 2020

      Hi Matt,

      Wow, congratulations!

      I had a little look and can’t find anything mentioned in the record books. In fact, 50 inches would be a clean 6 inches more than the current world record.

      I guess these things take time to update.

      All the best!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • John Slattery

    May 1, 2019

    Hey guys. My biggest Snook was a Monster 46 inch at Ponce Park. I used a 6 inch piece of fresh mullet, nice and bloody, on a 7/0 j hook. What a Fight ! It was 5 minutes before we knew what kind of fish it was. I actually had black and blues on my left side of my body from fighting her !

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Sean

      May 5, 2019

      Hi John,

      Thanks for sharing!

      Wow, that sounds like some fight! Don’t you just love it when you only realize what a monster you hooked mid-fight?

      Hope you catch plenty more slobs in the future.

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • James T. McBride

    Mar 23, 2019

    Head to Stuart in June with my 82 year old Uncle. Bucket list thing for two guys from Charleston SC. 10 cent bridge here we come!

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Sean

      Mar 26, 2019

      Glad to hear that, James.

      I hope you catch them in bunches!

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Eric

      Jan 17, 2021

      If you are from out of the area renting a charter is the way to go.
      Get on the spots and catch some fish!
      Shhhh…I probably shouldnt say this but Sebastian Inlet night time. Many many 40″ plus Snook. My best is 47″ Snook. Took a photo and let her go.

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Amber

    Feb 15, 2019

    This got me excited to catch a big snook, I’m looking to go get em this weekend (:

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Sean

      Feb 15, 2019

      Glad to hear that, Amber.

      I hope you catch a bunch of ’em!

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Rafael Drylo

    Dec 27, 2018

    What kind of lures are the bast to use a for snook.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Sean

      Jan 8, 2019

      Hello Rafael,

      Thank you for reading the blog.

      Generally, Jigs and Bucktails work great with Snook. You can use topwater plugs when fishing in shallower waters, of course. One thing to keep in mind is to use faster lures during the summer months, and slower lures during winter. This way, you’ll match the pace Snook are moving around.

      Hope this helps. All the best from FishingBooker!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Anthony Asaro

      May 14, 2020

      Should i use a white bucktail with a dark trailer at night under bridges?

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      May 15, 2020

      Hi Anthony,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      You may not even need the trailer. A simple white bucktail with a long tail (red or blue both work pretty well) tends to do the job. Of course, it’s always worth having a trailer in the box in case you want more movement.

      Let us know how you get on!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      JOhn Lew

      May 22, 2019

      Just left Sanibel and seen 0 Snook , was there for 8 days and have been going there for 10years 1st time ever not seeeing any snook or catching 1 ..

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      May 23, 2019

      Hi John,

      That’s really sad to hear!

      Hopefully the strict closures along the Gulf Coast will help Snook and other inshore species bounce back from last year’s red tide!

      Did you manage to have a good trip even without the Snook?

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Rob Hall

      Jun 27, 2019

      1996. AhA bridge 33lbs on a mullet head ebb tide. Will never forget that fish. Same bridge given me many 20+ pounders

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Danny

      Sep 10, 2019

      At what A1A bridge did you catch those monsters?

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *