Snook Fishing at Night: The Best Time for Snook?

June 12, 2020

Snook Fishing at Night: The Best Time for Snook?

Snook are some of the easiest large saltwater gamefish to catch from shore. When the water is clear you can often see them sunbathing near the surface or looking for an easy bite to eat. This is the perfect time to throw bucktail snook jig or topwater plug their way to entice a strike. But what if I told you there was an even more effective time of day to catch snook? Turns, out there is: snook fishing at night!

Most fishermen are used to only fishing when it’s light out, however, fishing for snook at night produces some of the most frantic snook fishing with tons of hook-ups and trophy-sized snook. So what’s the secret to fishing for snook after dark? You’re about to find out! In this article, we’ll first cover what snook are and why fishing for them at night is most productive. Then we’ll get into the best snook fishing setups for fishing at night as well as what to look for when fishing for snook at night. Get ready to become a nighttime snook assassin!

Why You Should Fish for Snook at Night

In order to understand why you should fish for snook at night, you first need to understand what snook are and their eating habits. As you probably already know, snook are a saltwater game fish that live off the coast of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. They also live further south through Central America as well as northern South America. 

Snook are silvery-white in color with light yellow dorsal fins and a black lateral line that runs down their side. They usually mature between 10 and 20 lbs, but have been known to grow up to 50 lbs. The younger snook stay closer to shore and near freshwater inlets, while the larger snook are comfortable patrolling deeper coastline waters hunting for prey. Unlike most fish that sleep or rest at night, snook are active predators.

This gets into what snook like to eat. Snook enjoy feeding on smaller baitfish and crustaceans like shrimp and crabs, as well as smaller baitfish like mullet. Because these smaller creatures feel more comfortable at night when it is harder to see them, snook have adapted to see very well after dark. Many snook actually prefer hunting when the sun goes down. This means that fishing at night is a great option.

The Best Tackle for Night Fishing for Snook

There are several tackle setups that work better when fishing for snook at night. We like to use a standard medium/large saltwater spinning setup or a large baitcasting reel and rod. Both of these options will give you the need dexterity to casting your lure where the snook are hunting, but with enough power to battle a potentially large fish. We recommend getting a medium-sized saltwater spinning reel spooled with 30lb test braided fishing line. Pair this with a medium/large saltwater spinning rod and you’ll be set up for success. If baitcasting is more your speed, a similar-sized paring will do the trick.

We like to use a 20 to 30 lb test monofilament leader when fishing for snook at night because even though you can’t see the line in the water they can. It’s their good eyesight that allows them to hunt at night in the first place.

Where to Look For Snook at Night

One of the biggest advantages of fishing for snook at night is that they are much easier to find in residential areas. Here are a few pointers when looking for snook at night.

  • Head for lighted areas. Both above water and underwater boat lights will attract small underwater creatures at night, which will in turn attract snook. If you want to set up your own underwater dock light, we recommend checking out the Green Blog fishing light.
  • Check out bays, inlets, and residential areas. During the day these places are often overrun with people and boats which scare away baitfish and snook. At night, they become peaceful and a perfect place for snook to hunt. Remember that snook like hunting around underwater structure, so residential inlets and docks make for perfect night-time snook fishing spots.
  • Bridges can also be a jackpot. As with docks and inlets, the cover provided by bridges and their pilings is perfect for snook to hunt around. Smaller crustaceans and baitfish love these areas, and hungry snook won’t be far behind.
  • Be stealthy. Along with amazing eyesight, snook also have a very keen sense of hearing. If you charge loudly towards an area you think might have snook, you’ll more often than not scare them away before you can cast your lure. Be quiet when you walk and set stuff down, and don’t disturb the water. If you’re using a boat or fishing kayak, be as quiet as you can.

What Snook Lures Work Best at Night?

Snook will bite at many different types of lures at night, but they also have the reputation of being finicky. This means you should be prepared with many different types of snook lures and bait at your disposal. 

Live Bait

If your local regulations allow it, we recommend starting with live bait when snook fishing at night. Try hooking a live sardine or mullet through the nose with a 3/0 or 4/0 hook so it can swim around frantically after you cast it. Shrimp and small crabs can also work well when fishing for snook at night. As with all lures you try, if it’s not working after a few shots try something else. Just be careful not to spook the snook by making a lot of noise with your tackle box.

Artificial Lures

As far as artificial lures go, we really like using snook jigs when fishing for snook at night. As we covered in our snook jigging article, the three best types of jigs are bucktail jigs, soft plastic jigs, and nylon flare jigs. Focus on getting these jigs in white, chartreuse, or pink colors that imitate shrimp and baitfish. 

For your presentation of the lure, try and imitate a wounded shrimp or baitfish by giving the lure small jerks in the water. Don’t let the line go slack while you’re jigging at night; since you can’t see a snook bite you’ll need to be extra attentive to how the lure feels at the end of your line.

Parting Thoughts

Snook fishing at night is one of the most exciting ways to fish for snook. The added drama of not being able to see the fish as well as the potential of catching a monster in residential districts makes it our favorite time to fish for them. If you don’t have underwater boat lights on your boat, consider getting some before your next outing. We hope after reading this article we’ve convinced you to try snook fishing at night for yourself. Let us know your experience or any additional tips in the comments below.

Happy Hunting!

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