Beach Snook Fishing – Part I

By Ken Taylor
Summertime is definitely the right time to fish the beach for catch and release snook action! If you’ve never caught a snook, surf fishing at the beach is an excellent place to try it and now is the time to go. Snook will readily take artificial lures, flies, live or cut bait as they prowl the surf in preparation for their summer spawning sessions on the outgoing tides at the varied southwest Florida passes.

My favorite style of fishing is sight fishing with artificial lures as I can carry a backpack filled with them along with a chilled water bottle as I walk the beaches in the morning starting around 8:30 a.m. The sun has to rise high enough in the eastern sky for it to sufficiently illuminate the water so that snook can easily be spotted. Once I spot a snook, I will make a perpendicular or angular cast and move my lure away from them as they swim north or south along the beach. This presentation is the most effective, as a baitfish doesn’t attack a predator fish. Snook will attack a lure by reaction once it moves away from them, as they like to chase bait down or simply come up from behind it and suck it in.

In order to see fish, a quality pair of polarized sunglasses with amber based lenses is essential; amber provides the best contrast for shallow water and easily helps distinguish between an active fish and the sandy bottom. Most actively feeding snook are found in the first trough, which is generally from where the waves meet the sand out to about six feet. For this reason, stay on the sand in ankle deep water because if you wade out into deeper water, the snook will be behind you!

I also like to wear a wide brimmed hat or cap as this will help shade your eyes and keep your head cool from the hot sun. I also like to wear high performance breathable clothing that has a high sun protection factor (SPF) in tans or blues which help camouflage me from the fish as I make casts at them. I also make sure to put on sunscreen— an SPF 30 or higher— first thing in the morning before I go to the beach. Clothing and sunscreen are essential to help protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun.

For a fishing rod, I prefer a seven-foot spinning rod with a medium action with an extra fast tip. This combination allows for gentle presentations of my lures and still has plenty of backbone to land a fish or 20 pounds or more. I’ve fished our local beaches for over 20 years and have caught or released many snook over 10 pounds and a few over 20 pounds as well. Most of the fish you will catch will be the smaller aggressive males that are usually in the 20–25 inch range, but they are still a lot of fun and pull hard for their size.

In a future article, I’ll discuss the lures and colors which I’ve found are the most effective for beach snook!

Ken Taylor is the Fishing Department Manager at the Venice West Marine located at 1860 Tamiami Trail South in Venice. To contact Ken, stop in or call the store at (941) 408-8288 or by e-mail at

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