Learn about the best artificial shrimp, mullet and swim bait patterns for catching snook in Florida.
Snook are one of the big three inshore fish for Florida anglers. While snook rarely get as far north as Big Bend Florida, they are common just about anywhere south of there. Snook fishing is a top choice for Florida recreational anglers because of the fight it puts up and the taste on the table.
If you plan to go snook fishing in Florida, you need to understand a few things about this fish. It is a predator and wants to eat something that is alive. They are common in shallower waters April through September. They look for natural and manmade cover as the temperatures cool. Mangroves, piers and pilings are great places to find them.
THE BEST ARTIFICIAL LURES FOR SNOOK
Shrimp imitators are by far the best snook lures.
The Fleeing Shrimp is a shrimp representing bait in full panic mode, triggering the snook's predator instincts. It scoots backward and should be fished in rapid jerks to best imitate the herky-jerky flight of a shrimp swimming away. The ultra-realistic appearance will draw strikes from even the most lock-jawed snook. It comes in several colors and a glass rattle insert adds a life-like noise and vibration to copy the popping action and sound of a shrimp in panicking.
Right behind this one is the Rigger Shrimp. Again, the hyper-realistic appearance fools the wariest snook into trying a bite. This one is best fished with a slow, bumping retrieve to imitate a shrimp in feeding mode. It is impregnated with a shrimp scent and has a glass rattle insert. The insert makes a ticking noise, which also creates vibration, like a shrimp feeding. It comes in a choice of colors and sizes.
WHERE TO TARGET SNOOK
When the snook are shallow and cruising, they are looking for baitfish like fingerling mullet. The Hollow Body Mullet looks like a mullet down to the gill slits. Because this is a hollow body lure, it will fish well near the surface. A walking the dog retrieve makes this lure look exactly like a wounded baby mullet. It is available in three color patterns and three sizes.
Fishing legend Bob McNally has some tips on how to walk the dog.
THE BEST SWIM BAITS FOR SNOOK
Swim baits have a tail that moves as you retrieve the lure. Fishbrain has studied swim baits and interviewed anglers. The results say paddle tails are the best snook lures.
The 8-inch Fatty has a hard body and replaceable tail. It comes in a variety of colors and two weights.
The Stretch 9 is Fatty's big brother. The greater weight allows you to make longer casts, something you may need when going after wary snook.
Both of these swimbaits are highly versatile lures. You can rip it, do a steady retrieve, a bumping retrieve or fish it like you would a Texas-rigged worm. That method is the least effective on snook, but sometimes that is what they want. Both also have a hidden leader, allowing you to use a lighter main line while still ensuring you have a tough enough leader to land one of these line-breakers.
Now let’s go fishing. We’ll bring the snook lures.
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