Snook are one of the most sought-after fish species in Florida. They’re very popular among anglers because of how challenging they can be to catch as they’re extremely strong and are known to be excellent fighters. They’re also very good to eat.
Using live bait is ideal when it comes to targeting Snook in Florida. The type of bait you use depends mainly on what you can locate.
Shiners can be found in abundance in Florida and they’re a fantastic choice for live bait because of their small size, shiny color, and natural scent.
So, can you use shiners for Snook? Yes, you can use shiners for Snook. Snook typically prefer live bait and they aren’t picky eaters, so they will bite on any live bait fish that’s available in their area. You can use shiners as bait to catch snook by chumming or by rigging them on a small hook.
Keep reading to learn more about how to use shiners for snook fishing and how to easily catch shiners to use as bait.
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How to Use Shiners for Snook Fishing?
There are multiple ways you can use shiners as bait when fishing for Snook.
The most effective way is by using the live bait chumming technique, which is ideal during the warmer months in Florida. This technique allows you to cover a larger area and increases your chances of landing Snook.
Another effective method is by rigging shiners on a hook. You can hook shiners through their top and bottom lip which allows for better casting. You can also hook them through the back behind their dorsal fin.
It’s recommended to use a 1 to 4/0 hook if you’re fishing with 3-inch shiners, while 5/0 or 6/0 hooks are better if you’re using shiners that are about 8 to 10 inches in length.
You don’t need to use any weight such as a split shot or a bobber to sink the bait as it might limit their movement.
When it comes to the rest of your tackle, it’s recommended to use a 7-foot medium or medium/heavy, fast action rod with a spinning reel spooled with a 20-pound line test braided fishing line. It’s also recommended to use a 30 to 40-pound fluorocarbon leader
Where to Get Shiners?
Shiners can be found in large quantities throughout the United States. They mostly inhabit freshwater lakes, rivers, ponds, ditches, and streams.
They can be purchased from any local bait shop and they’re usually not too expensive. You can purchase a dozen of healthy 3-4 inch shiners for about $6 and smaller shiners can be purchased for less.
Sometimes shiners can still be too expensive to purchase or they might not be available in local bait shops so anglers resort to catching their own shiners.
There are two ways anglers can catch their own shiners.
The simplest and most effective way to catch shiners is by using a casting net. It allows you to catch more shiners in a short amount of time.
All you need to do is chum up an area then throw your net aiming at the center of the area you chummed. Allow the net to fully sink to the bottom and after 1 or 2 casts, you will be able to see some shiners caught in your net.
You can also catch shiners using a line and hook. It’s recommended to use an ultralight rod to easily detect bites, a monofilament line with a 2-4-pound test, and a small hook with small pieces of red worm, grass shrimp, or bread balls as bait.
All you need to do is cast the baited hook in the area you chummed and let it sink naturally without using a split shot or a bobber. When shiners bite, you’ll be able to sense a twitch on your line.
What Other Fish Can You Catch with Shiners?
There’s a wide variety of gamefish you can catch with shiners. Let’s take a closer look at some of these species and what size of shiners you need to target each of them:
This is one of the most popular species you can catch with shiners as bait.
It’s recommended to use 3-4 inch shiners when targeting any size of bass, but if you’re targeting a trophy bass fish, it’s recommended to use shiners that are 6 inches and up.
Walleyes usually don’t bite any bait that’s larger than 5 inches, so it’s recommended to use shiners that are 3-5 inches in length.
Almost all catfish species will bite on live or dead shiners, so it’s recommended to use shiners that are 3-6 inches in length.
Perch are smaller gamefish, so they can only be caught using very small shiners and they need to be presented right.
It’s recommended to use shiners that are 1-3 inches in length.
Similar to yellow perch, crappie can also be caught using small shiners that are about 1-3 inches in length.
If you’re targeting a small pike, it’s recommended to use shiners that are 2-4 inches in length. However, if you’re targeting a larger pike, it’s recommended to use shiners that are above 6 inches in length.
If you are new to pike fishing, check out my full guide to pike fishing here.
What Are the Most Common Species of Shiners?
The most common species of shiners include scaled sardines, pilchards, threadfin herring, and Spanish sardines. Shiners refer to a range of small baitfish species that have shiny or silver coloring along the sides of their bodies. They are also sometimes referred to as white bait.
How to Keep Shiners Alive?
To keep shiners alive, you need to keep them in a bucket filled with cold water after catching them. Cover the bucket with a lid to prevent them from jumping out and to keep them away from direct sunlight. You also need to keep the water rich in oxygen using an aerator and keep them fed using small pieces of bread or a pinch of fish food.
Where to Fish for Snook?
Snook can be found almost anywhere near saltwater in Florida. They tend to prefer the warm waters of the Intracoastal Waterway and adjoining canals, near inlets and around fishing docks. You can target them at the beach, on the shallow grass flats.
What Baits Can You Use for Saltwater Fishing?
You can use baits such as shrimp, pin fish, crabs, shiners, mullets, and sand fleas for saltwater fishing. These baits can be used to target a wide variety of gamefish species throughout the state. They can mostly be found in any bait shop at a reasonable price, however, some anglers prefer to catch their own bait.
Check out the best Fishing reels For The Money
- Find the Best Saltwater Spinning Reels here, the best ultralight spinning reels here, and the best spinning reels under $100 here.
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- Going Salmon Fishing? Check out the best Salmon Fishing Reels.
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