Our editors at Finn’s Fishing Tips independently research, test, and recommend the best products to help you make purchase decisions. You can learn more about our review process here. We sometimes get a commission through purchases made via our links.
We love fishing for snook. They’re one of the most fun fish to sight fish for, as they often hang out close to the surface and you can watch them chase down your lure. They are also great fighters that live in coastal backwaters any fishermen can access. But what’s the best type of lure to use for snook? Should you skip your spinning setup altogether and switch to fly fishing? We don’t think so. And after you try using the snook jigs we feature in this article, we think you’ll agree with us.
Jigging for snook is one of the most fun and effective ways to fish for snook. Between feathered bucktails and soft rubber jigs, snook find the presentation irresistible. In this article, we’ll go over our favorites types of snook jigs, how to fish them, and why we like them over any other type of snook lure. But first, let’s cover some snook basics.
Best Jigs for Snook
What Are Snook?
Snook are a popular saltwater game fish that live off the coast of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. They also inhabit most of the Central American coastline as well as northern South America.
Snook are silvery-white in color with yellow fins and a black lateral line that runs down their sides. They grow to be several feet long with the record weighing over 53 lbs. Juvenile snook tend to live in brackish waters close to shore, while older more mature snook range further out into the ocean to hunt, but can still be found in shallow areas regularily.
Author Note: Snook enjoy feeding on smaller baitfish and crustaceans like shrimp and crabs, especially at night. This means that live bait is often a great choice for catching snook, however not all states and regions allow for live bait. If you use a jig instead, you won’t have to worry about it.
The Best Tackle for Snook Jigging
When it comes to the right tackle for snook jigging, a standard medium/large saltwater spinning setup works best. We recommend getting a medium-sized saltwater spinning reel spooled with 30lb test braided fishing line. Pair this with a medium/large saltwater snook rod and you’ll be set up for success.
You can also look at our guide for the best reels for snook.
We also like to use a 20 to 30 lb test monofilament leader when jigging for snook, especially if you’re sight fishing. Since sight fishing required clear water and decent light, the snook will be able to see your braided line in the water if it gets too close to them. Using a monofilament leader fixes this problem.
Types of Snook Jigs
There are several types of snook jigs that work well. Below you can find our favorite types and the colors that work best for snook.
Bucktail Snook Jigs
The most popular and effective style of snook jigs, we like to fish with bucktail jigs in the ½ oz to 1 oz range. We like using a white bucktail jig with red hackle to imitate a wounded shrimp or baitfish. The SPRO Prime ½ oz Bucktail is perfect.
Snook find this combo irresistible, especially if you had the correct jigging action to make the lure’s skirt flip back and forth. Bucktail jigs also work well for many types of saltwater fish besides snook, such as cobia, speckled trout, and redfish.
Soft Plastic Snook Jigs
Another great option for snook jigs are soft plastic shrimp tails and worms. These changed the game by giving the lure a more realistic mouth feel for tentative snook not quite ready to bite. We like using rubber jigs that imitate a shrimp tail paired with an eyed jig head for weight.
Nylon Flare Snook Jigs
Nylon flare jigs are our third choice when it comes to snook jigs. We like the Offshore Redtail Hawk jig the most for snook. When fished by bouncing them off the bottom or in a vertical presentation, these nylon jigs can work wonders.
They’re also our choice when sight fishing isn’t an option because the snook are hiding in deeper water. The nylon jigs are great for probing deeper water alongside bridges and docks where other jigs might get stuck.
How to Fish Snook Jigs
Depending on if you’re sight fishing for snook or hunting in deeper waters various jigging techniques work best. We’ll cover each condition and the action/jig type we recommend.
Sight Fishing for Snook
If the water is clear and you can see the snook sunbathing near the surface, sight fishing with soft plastic jigs will be your best bet. This is a great technique to try while inshore kayak fishing. We like using soft rubber jigs in clear conditions before trying bucktail snook jigs because the snook tend to be more cautious in clear water.
The soft rubber lure will feel right when they strike it and will lead to more hookups on tentative snook. If you aren’t getting any bites with the soft rubber jigs, switch to the bucktail snook jigs as an alternative.
As far as action goes, be sure to flip both the rubber and bucktail lures as close as you can to where the snook are facing. Then try and imitate a wounded shrimp by flipping the tip of your rod every few seconds while retrieving your lure.
You can try different speeds of jigging, just make sure the action you’re adding allows the jigs skirt to float in the water like a wounded fish.
It’s important to be very silent when sight fishing, and to limit your movements as well as wear light colored clothes like white and blue colors.
Throwing your jig closely to a snook in shallow water can also potentially spook them away, so it may take time and practice to be successful when sight fishing if you are not experienced doing it.
Fluorocarbon fishing line is also a necessity, as it is virtually invisible underwater, and in clear and shallow water, other line types such as braid can be easily spotted.
you can also simply straight retrieve jigs depending on the type of soft plastic used, with paddle tail and curly tail presentations working great for a straight retrieve.
Other soft plastic types like shrimp imitations can also be dragged across the bottom slowly, and at times this can be the best way to trigger a snook into biting.
Deeper Water Snook Jigging
When the water isn’t as clear and you can’t sight fish for snook, we recommend using a nylon flare snook jig and casting it where you think the snook are hiding. This is often close to bridge or dock pilings as well as on the bottom.
Bounce your nylon flare jig off the shelter and pay close attention to any bites or feedback on your rod. The deeper the water the fainter the tug will be when a snook bites your jig.
You’ll need to be cognizant of not snagging, but also don’t be afraid of getting your lure as close as possible to the underwater structure. We like to employ a similar action as to when we sight fish for snook, except with slightly longer pulls the deeper the water we’re in.
Author Note: You want to make sure the snook sees the lure and deeper water has less light than on the surface. This strategy works well when using lures to fish for snook at night too.
Like with shallow water, fluorocarbon line is still your best bet, but in deep water you can definitely get away with using braided line and a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader for stealth. Stealthy presentations can mean the difference between hooking a trophy class snook or not.
Why We Like Jigging The Most
If you still aren’t convinced that jigs are the best lure for snook, here are a few more reasons we like jigs the most.
- More hook-ups. This one is easy for us; we’ve seen the most success when fishing for snook with jigs. More catching is always a good thing.
- Stronger strikes. Snook tend to strike our jigs harder than other lure presentations, especially when topwater sight fishing. This makes for a really fun first seconds of the fight, and an unforgettable experience.
- Snook jigs are cheap. Jigs are cheap lures to make and cost less to buy. You’re much less mad when you lose a $3 jig compared to losing a $10 topwater plug. This also allows you to fish for snook in riskier spots/situations as you don’t care as much if you lose your jig.
We hope after reading this article you’re not only convinced that jigging for snook is better than other methods, but that you have a few new snook jigs to try the next time you go fishing. But don’t take our word for, grab a few cheap jigs and try them out for your self! Let us know what you think in the comments below.