With Irma past us, and the fishery back in full swing – we wanted to touch back on targeting Snook here in the waters of Tampa Bay. We are entering Fall and this will mark the start of slight pattern changes, that will lead into winter where tactics will completely change in comparison to the mid summer. We touched on this subject before, here, and this article will offer an expanded view from that article.
Why is snook so important?
If you are visiting Florida for a saltwater fishing trip, especially for the first time, and have really never considered snook- you might wonder why there is such a concentration on catching this species when you start looking around online. Snook are admittedly a favorite for locals who fish the inshore waters here.
But this isn’t a matter of happenstance, this is because these are aggressive fighters, ambush predators, and put on a great fight on light tackle. They are readily available, but still take a little finesse to get on the end of your line. So, as far as defining a sportfish, snook fit much of that criteria. It’s one of those species that will draw you back to the water again and again.
Using Live Bait
This is the most common and effective method for landing snook in Tampa Bay. We use an abundant source of whitebait, known locally as “greenback’s”. As the name would suggest, they have a green back, but the other 80% of this bait is a reflective silver that snook (and most other species) cannot resist. For those new to snook fishing this is the best place to start.
Using live bait not only keeps your day active, but will aso start shedding light into how these fish operate in different situations. Learning the fsh is the most critical part to a successful path towards being a snook fisherman. Live bait will allow you to get to that point without any additional learning curves being thrown at you.
Using Artificial Bait | Lures
This is where we add another element of skill to snook fishing. Snook will readily hit an artificial lure once you learn where to place it, how to lead them, and finally what action to use. The type of artificial you use can vary greatly. There is success to be had on jigs, twitch baits, topwaters, and soft plastics. One trick to snook is understanding the fact that they are ambush predators.
In Tampa Bay this generally works one of two ways.
The first being that they are laid up in the mangrove roots, usually at a bottleneck, facing a moving tide just out of sight. As a baitfish enters this path with the tide, the ambush occurs.
The other way snook ambush is from the bottom up. In slightly deeper water with less cover, they will settle towards the bottom and strike upwards at bait overhead. The idea is the same: be out of sight, and be fast with the ambush.
Knowing this is your first key in understanding when and where to place and work your artificial bait of choice.
Snook “Docklight” Fishing
This is another favorite for locals and the idea is much the same as what was described above – except in this scenario, the snook lay in wait in the dark, and then strike into the lit up area smashing the bait within. Docklights generally light up a circular area under the water. Baitfish are attracted to this light and it is not uncommon to find many snook circling this area just on the edges, in the darkness.
If you are ready to give this awesome inshore master of the ambush a try, give us a shout and we can start helping you plan your ext fishing trip for snook in Tampa Bay!