Snook are big in size and extremely strong. They’re also known to be excellent fighters as they have large mouths and powerful tails that allow them to swim faster.
To increase your chance of catching Snook, you need to choose the right kind of gear and most importantly bait.
Since snook are ambush predators, they have a strong preference for live bait, however, they might go for an easy meal every now and then.
So, will Snook eat dead bait? Snook will occasionally eat dead bait if they’re very hungry and if the dead bait is rigged to appear alive and healthy. That is because Snook are ambush predators, not scavengers. So, their predator instinct makes them more attracted to live baits.
Continue reading to learn more about the best bait to catch Snook and how to catch them using live or dead bait.
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What Is the Best Bait to Catch Snook?
Snook are ambush predators and they are not very picky when it comes to what they eat. They will feed on most small baitfish and crustaceans.
The best bait for catching Snook is live bait which includes pilchards, sand perch, threadfin herring, shrimp, pinfish, grunts, mullets, ladyfish, shiners, bluegills, and shad. I have a guide on using shiners for catching snook here.
You can also use an artificial lure to attract Snook. It’s recommended to go for lures that mimic the action of live baitfish such as bucktail jigs and topwater lures.
Can You Catch Snook with Dead Bait?
You can catch Snook with dead bait, however, it’s usually not as effective as live bait. That’s because dead bait is not attractive to most Snook as it doesn’t have the same wiggling action of live bait so it won’t really grab the Snook’s attention.
If the bait is freshly dead and its body is still in a good condition, then it can still be good for catching Snook especially in streams where the bait would be moving by the fish at a fast pace.
However, if the bait is withered or dried out from heat exposure then, it won’t be very effective for catching Snook because it would have a strong off-putting smell that would drive them away. It will also be very brittle and will disintegrate quickly when you try to put it on your hook.
So, it’s strongly recommended to avoid using dead bait to catch Snook. If you have no choice but to fish with dead bait, then you need to make sure to choose the healthiest-looking bait you can find.
How to Fish for Snook with Live Bait?
There are multiple techniques you can fish for Snook with live bait.
The most effective technique is live bait chumming. This technique allows you to cover more water and increases your chances of landing Snook.
To catch Snook with this technique, you need to chum up an area with live bait then aim a casting net at the center of the area you chummed. Make sure to allow the net to fully sink to the bottom. You should be able to catch Snook after 1 or 2 casts.
Another effective technique is by rigging live bait on a hook. It’s a very simple process and the live bait is likely to last longer if it’s rigged on a hook properly.
Here are the steps you need to follow to properly rig live bait:
- Tie the hook to your line using a clinch knot or a quadruple overhand knot.
- Make sure your knot is tightly secured by pulling on the hook. You need to make sure it doesn’t slip through the eyelet of the hook.
- Cut off the “tag-end” of your line from the knot.
- Run the hook through the top and bottom lip of the live bait or through the back behind the dorsal fin. This will allow for better casting and will leave the tail of the bait free to dangle off the hook to create a wiggling action that will grab the attention of the Snook.
- Finally, cast the live-baited hooks in areas of water where the Snook you’re targeting are known to reside.
You can attach a bobber or a strike indicator float to detect subtle bites. You can also attach a split shot weight at about 4-8 inches above your bait. This will allow your bait to sink and keep it grounded in strong currents. It will also allow you to cast your bat further.
When hooking the bait, you need to be careful not to break the bait’s neck and avoid running the hook through the middle of the bait’s nostrils because that’s usually where the fish’s brain is located.
What Kind of Gear Do You Need to Catch Snook?
You need strong gear to catch Snook because they can put up a good fight.
For the fishing rod, it’s recommended to go for a 7-foot medium or medium/heavy with fast action. Check out these strong fishing rods that I like.
For the reel, it’s recommended to go for a spinning reel spooled with a 20-pound braided fishing line. I have another guide on the best budget spinning reels here, and another guide to braided fishing lines.
For the hook, it’s recommended to use a 1/0 or 2/0 circle hook, however, you can match the size of the hook to the size of the bait you’re using.
What Is the Best Time to Fish for Snook?
The best time to fish for Snook is around 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunrise. Snook can still bite during the day, however, a lot of anglers prefer to target them at night because traffic would be minimal and Snook would be more active.
Where to Fish for Snook?
You can fish for Snook in open water, however, they prefer areas with structure, so it’s best to fish them near docks, piers, shorelines, sea walls, and submerged rocks and ledges. Snook also prefer areas with warm water, so you can fish for them in the southern half of Florida and the southern coast of Texas.
Do You Need a Leader When Fishing for Snook?
Yes, you will need to use a leader when fishing for Snook because they are extremely strong and they might damage your mainline if they put up a fight. So, by using a leader, you will reduce the risks of losing your catch. It’s recommended to use a 30-inch fluorocarbon leader with a 30 to 40-pound line test.
Can You Cook Snook?
Yes, you can cook Snook and it has an excellent flavor. Its meat is white and not as delicate as trout’s but not as thick as swordfish’s which makes it perfect for grilling, baking, or frying. However, Snook’s meat can develop an unpleasant soapy taste if it’s cooked with the skin on it, so it’s best to remove the skin before you cook it.
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