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
How Do I find and Catch Snook?
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
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
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
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.