Snook Lures and Bait: How, Where, and When to Fish Them

Snook fishing is an exhilarating experience that calls for the right lures and bait, as well as a strategic approach. This comprehensive guide will detail the optimum types of snook lures and bait to use, and the best times and places to fish them.


Common Snook, or Centropomus undecimalis, are one of the most popular inshore game fish in Florida. Snook are aggressive feeders and put up a good fight, making the right bait and lures crucial for a successful outing.

Snook - Kayak Fishing - Florida

The Anatomy of Snook Fishing

Before diving into the specifics, it’s important to note the types of waters where you’re likely to encounter Snook.

  • Inshore Waters: Estuaries, mangroves, and backwaters.
  • Beaches: Particularly during the spawning season.
  • Piers and Structures: Snook like to ambush prey here.

Top Snook Lures and Their Applications

Soft Plastic Jerk Baits for Snook

  • How to Fish: Erratic, twitching retrieve
  • Where to Fish: Grass flats, estuaries
  • When to Fish: Spring and early summer mornings

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Versatile, mimics natural prey
  • Cons: Can get torn up easily, not ideal for very murky water

Topwater Plugs: A Great Snook Lure

  • How to Fish: Steady retrieve with occasional pauses
  • Where to Fish: Near mangroves, piers
  • When to Fish: Early morning or late afternoon, mainly in summer

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Exciting surface strikes, effective in clear water
  • Cons: Not ideal during windy conditions, less effective in cold water

Live Baits and When to Use Them for Snook

Live Shrimp: Ideal Snook Bait

  • How to Fish: Free-lined or under a popping cork
  • Where to Fish: Estuaries, inlets
  • When to Fish: Year-round, particularly effective in winter

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Attracts a variety of species, easy to obtain
  • Cons: Less selective, can attract unwanted species

Pinfish: Hearty Snook Bait

  • How to Fish: Free-lined near structure
  • Where to Fish: Piers, mangroves
  • When to Fish: Summer and early fall

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Highly appealing to big Snook, durable
  • Cons: Requires a stronger setup, can be hard to catch

Finger Mullet (Snook Candy) : Ultimate Snook Bait

Finger Mullet aka: Snook Candy, are juvenile mullet that usually measure 3 to 5 inches. These baitfish are known for their hardiness and their ability to attract big Snook, making them a top live bait choice.

  • How to Fish: Free-line or use a float to suspend them in the water column.
  • Where to Fish: Inlets, passes, and mangrove shorelines.
  • When to Fish: Year-round, but exceptionally effective during the mullet runs.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Highly appealing to Snook, especially larger ones; hardy and survives well on a hook.
  • Cons: Seasonal availability, may attract other predatory fish like sharks.

Mullet Runs: Snook Frenzy

Mullet runs offer one of the best times to fish for Snook as they are in a feeding frenzy, focusing on these readily available baitfish. It’s an event that seasoned anglers look forward to every year.

East Coast: Generally occurs from late summer through early fall. The mullet run on the East Coast is an epic event that causes Snook (as well as many other species) to feed aggressively.

West Coast: Happens around the same time but is generally less intense compared to the East Coast. However, it still results in increased Snook activity and provides excellent fishing opportunities.

Snook Jigs: Soft Plastic and Bucktail

Soft Plastic Jigs: Effective Snook Lure

  • How to Fish: Bouncing along the bottom or through submerged vegetation
  • Where to Fish: Inlets, channels, and near bridge pilings
  • When to Fish: Year-round but most effective during outgoing tides

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Versatile, good for bottom-dwelling Snook
  • Cons: Requires skilled jigging techniques, may snag on underwater structures

Bucktail Jigs: Classic Snook Lure

  • How to Fish: Steady retrieve or jigging motion
  • Where to Fish: Deep channels, passes, and around structure
  • When to Fish: Best during moving tides, all seasons

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Effective in deeper water, good for larger Snook
  • Cons: May not be as effective in extremely shallow waters, less natural appearance

Choosing the Right Snook Lure Colors

Selecting the right color can be pivotal to your success in Snook fishing. The choice often depends on several factors:

Time of Day

  • Morning: Lighter shades like white and yellow can be effective
  • Midday: Natural colors such as green and brown are often good choices
  • Evening: Darker shades like blue or black are generally more effective

Weather Conditions

  • Sunny: Natural, lighter shades work well
  • Overcast: Bright, flashy colors can attract more attention


  • Spring: Greens and browns to mimic the awakening vegetation
  • Summer: Bright colors like orange and yellow can be highly visible
  • Fall: Natural or darker tones to match the changing environment
  • Winter: Darker colors like brown and black as vegetation and waters darken

Water Clarity

  • Clear Water: Natural colors to mimic real prey
  • Murky Water: Bright or dark contrasting colors for better visibility

Seasonal Strategies went picking Snook Baits

  • Spring: Soft plastics and jerk baits are highly effective as Snook come out of their winter haunts
  • Summer: Topwater plugs and live pinfish, especially during early morning and late afternoon
  • Fall: A mix of live bait and lures as Snook prepare for winter
  • Winter: Live shrimp and slow-moving jigs are more effective as Snook are less aggressive

Best Times of the Day

  • Morning: Topwater plugs and soft plastics
  • Midday: Live shrimp, especially in deeper waters
  • Afternoon/Evening: Soft plastics and pinfish near structures


Snook fishing is a thrilling adventure that requires not just skill but also the right kind of bait and lures. By understanding the how, where, and when of Snook fishing, you can optimize your time on the water. Tailor your approach according to the seasons and times of the day, and you’ll be well on your way to landing that trophy Snook.

Best Lures for Snook

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