Ladyfish are one of the better live baits for targeting big snook. The smaller ladyfish will work great, but even some of the bigger ladyfish will get the job done. Most anglers will fish with the ladyfish on a weightless rig, but you can fish it on the bottom also.
Pilchards, or sardines, are one of the most popular live baits for targeting snook. Whether you are fishing shallow or deep, you can use a variety of rigs to target snook. Many other species of fish will also eat a pilchard, so don’t be surprised if you catch trout, redfish, Spanish mackerel, grouper and many other species of fish while fishing for snook.
Pinfish are one of the most common baits that are used for snook. Anglers can use pinfish on a variety of rigs to target these fish in shallow water and deep water. The nice thing about using pinfish as bait is that there are so many other species of fish that will eat a pinfish. You may be fishing for snook and end up catching redfish, sea trout, flounder, grouper, tarpon and other species of fish with some snook mixed in.
Cut baits can be very effective for snook. All of the baits that they eat alive they will also eat as cut baits. At times, the lively bait is going to work much better, however, don’t rule out cut bait because some very big snook are caught every year on cut bait. Cut ladyfish and mullet are probably the favorites of most anglers when fishing with cut bait for snook.
For snook, finger mullet in that 4 to 5 range will get a lot of bites because the bait is small enough for the smaller snook and some bigger snook will also eat the bait. To consistently catch bigger snook, try using mullet in the 10 to 12 inch range. You won’t get nearly as many bites, but when you do get bit, there is a good chance that it will be a big fish. You can fish mullet weightless, on a bobber or with a bottom rig depending on the type of area that you are fishing.
Shrimp are an excellent bait for catching snook. Live shrimp are much more productive than using dead shrimp, so make sure you keep your shrimp alive. Jumbo shrimp will give you a better chance to catch larger snook, so if the bait shops have jumbo shrimp, you may want to go with those. The nice thing about using shrimp as bait is that you will have a good chance to catch a variety of other fish while you are fishing for snook.