Live Bait for Snook
Snook have been known to strike and consume just about any kind of bait you can imagine. From oversized minnows to sea cat’s, snook are not particularly over-finicky eaters, yet there are certain baits that are like surf and turf for the ambitious predators. For sheer excitement and loads of fun nothing gets the blood flowing like a Southwest Florida snook crushing a topwater plug or even a live pinfish or a pilchard smack out of the water. As wily and intelligent as we have been claiming Florida snook to be, there is one Achilles’ heel that fools them each and every time. A live pinfish is such a weakness for the Southwest Florida snook.
Southwest Florida snook can’t seem to resist a seemingly easy prey item such as a pinfish that for some reason can’t seem to swim away? For this reason most of the snook fishermen of Southwest Florida use live bait and live bait alone. Pinfish are the number one choice for snook in all of Florida and this should come as no surprise at all. What may be surprising is that in the SW region of the Sunshine State there is a good amount of what is referred to as a pilchard. These are the preferred live baits for all snook in the Gulf waters off Florida.
Bait Fish or Shiners
To the younger snook fishermen out there most of these small baitfish that are cruising along the bottom of the waterways here in SW Florida or along the beaches and inlets and all through the mangroves of South Florida look about the same. In actuality, the species of prey items that Southwest Florida snook are taken on each and every year include pilchards, greenbacks aka threadfin herring and the ever-present finger mullet. Most of these baitfish are referred to by the seasoned anglers as white baits or just shiners for lack of a better term. Most anglers know how to differentiate shiners that are used for snook fishing from the wild shiners of Florida that are used for largemouth bass fishing, just by the locality of the angling. It seems that Southwest Florida snook are not found in golf course lakes or freshwater tributaries and subsequently largemouth bass tend to stay away from surf conditions on Sanibel Island.
Best Bait Choice – Bait Availability
The type of live bait that you will use when fishing for snook in Southwest Florida has a lot to do with what type of bait you can locate. Normally schools of whitefish such as pinfish and other inshore bait taking small baits can be caught with hook and line. All it takes is a few handfuls of frozen shrimp, some small gold hooks, old school split shots and some quick hook setting. Within 15 to 30 minutes you’ll have enough pinfish for the entire day of snook fishing. Before fishing for snook it is advisable that you already have the bait-bucket full of live baits.
Proper Attitude Toward Bait Preservation
In summation live baits are relatively easy to locate as long as you have the right snook bait, the right tackle and the proper attitude towards bait preservation. By keeping the live baits well aired and out of harms way, at least until the entry into the snook-filled waters of SW Florida, you will be able to enjoy a day of snook fishing so much better than having to chase baits throughout the day.
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