5 Awesome Places to Catch Some Rays and Trophy Snook This Spring

As temperatures warm, head out to these spots to reel in some trophy snook.

5 Awesome Places to Catch Some Rays and Trophy Snook This Spring

The common snook (Centropomus undecimalis) makes its home in the warm waters of the subtropics and tropics. Their reputation as tough fighters and delicious table fare resulted in extreme overfishing in the United States. In response, the states where viable snook fisheries exist—Florida and, to a lesser extent, Texas—ended commercial harvesting of snook and imposed strict regulations on anglers, include seasons, slot sizes, and bag limits.

Snook are extremely sensitive to water temperatures and other environmental factors. Die-offs have occurred during cold snaps, and more recently, red tide plumes. After a die off, it is not uncommon for certain fisheries to be designated catch-and-release until the populations rebound. From 2020-2021, for example, a part of Florida’s Gulf Coast will be catch-and-release only due to red tide in the previous seasons.

Before you head out with rod and reel, make sure you check the latest regulations and licensing information. And when you do head out, here are some places where you may just hook into a trophy snook.

Little Card Channel, Key Largo, FL

Little Card Channel, which is located between the mainland and North Key Largo, just southeast of Homestead, Florida is a hot spot for snook. Linesiders cruise this area all year long and respond particularly well to live bait—especially the bait species that make their home in the channel.

If you’re an experienced snook angler or feel confident giving the spot a try, grab your gear and toss out a line. Otherwise, head out with someone who has a little more local knowledge, like Shallow Tails Guide Service. They’ll get you hooked up with the right bait, gear and location, and get a snook onto your hook. 

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Snook Alley, Sarasota, FL

Snook Alley. The name says it all, doesn’t it? Located between Sarasota and Venice, Florida, Snook Alley got its name for the large numbers of snook that find their way into the waters, attracted by the baitfish flushed into the channel from nearby bays and the Gulf of Mexico. In spite of heavy fishing pressure (as one might surmise from the name alone), under normal conditions, snook are abundant in the area.

Another reason that snook are attracted to Snook Alley’s waters is their tendency to be active at night. The area has a number of lights that shine onto the water and attract bait species, while the snook lurk in the shadows and wait for the right opportunity. If you’re looking for a leg up in hooking a snook in the Sarasota area, Mad Snooker is a guide who specializes in hauling the linesiders out of snook alley.

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Lower Laguna Madre, TX

While the waters off South Texas do attract some snook, they pale in comparison to Florida’s fisheries. That being said, Lower Laguna Madre is about the same latitude as Miami and presents your best bet for landing a snook in the Lone Star State. Shrimp and baitfish—find out what are running and what snook are eating when you’re there—as well as contrasting plastics work well. 

Increase your odds for landing a Lower Laguna Madre linesider by heading out with somebody who knows the waters and knows where and when to look for snook. Capt. Lloyd Dunkin is one such individual, and if he can’t put you on a snook, he’ll certainly get something onto the end of your line.

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St. Lucie-Indian Rivers, Stuart, FL

Known to snook anglers as The Crossroads, the place where the St. Lucie and Indian Rivers converge, near the St. Lucie Inlet, is one of the hottest snook hotspots on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Between the structure offered by the area’s numerous bridge pilings, the currents from the confluence of waters, and the numerous bait species attracted to the area, The Crossroads is a paradise for snook and snook anglers, alike.

Artificial baits work when the sun is low and the water is murky. Live bait is a good bet anytime. An even better bet is to head out with a guide like Capt. Giles Murphy, the Stuart Angler and take advantage of his local knowledge.

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Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, Terra Ceia, FL

Another area in southwest Florida that attracts snook are the small bays off the main part of Tampa Bay around Terra Ceia Preserve State Park. Water flushes into and out of the narrow channels that connect the larger bay with the smaller bodies of water. Bait species surge in and out, as well, and snook lie in wait for them as they do.

The state park has boat launching and shore fishing facilities if you head out on your own. Otherwise, Snook Fin Addict guides in the area.

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