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Snook at night

Any tips for fishing the snook lights at night? Seeing plenty of fish but they seem to have lock jaw. Trying paddle tails and jerk baits 


  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,909 Captain
    Snook can be tough at night in or around docklights.  I tell my anglers that their first two or three casts are their only shot.  After that the fish pretty much know you're there and that's that... If you're in a boat go to some other docklight then a few hours later come back to that light with all the fish for round two.

     Look closely at any docklight and try to see which way the current is flowing.  If your fly or lure or bait comes into view with the current your chances of some action go up.  Also, if you're on foot look to see if you can cast to that light without ever setting foot on the dock since you need a cat burglar's feet on any dock where there's fish in a light...

    Hope this helps

    Be a hero... Take a kid fishing!
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • TarponatorTarponator Posts: 20,467 AG
    edited April 2020 #3
    Stay as far away as possible.

    Be quiet.

    Use live bait, preferably cast uptide and allow the bait to drift to the fish.
  • MulletMaster239MulletMaster239 Posts: 873 Officer
    Gotta be there at the right time and conditions for good action at those lights. But for a real fun time my suggestion would be to make a night of it..put a big bait out somewhere else in the vicinity, like along a nearby sea wall or downcurrent/upcurrent  from the light where it’s dark. The true monsters lurk in the darkness and sometimes even feed on the smaller snook that stray out of the hydroglow lights. A 2-3 lb mullet, a 20”+ ladyfish, or the biggest striped mojarra you can get is not too big a bait and they will suck it down like a vacuum cleaner. Of course a monster snook over 30 lbs will also take a 5” finger mullet too. And a ten pounder will eat a 13” ladyfish. Tonight my friend got a nice 18-20 pounder on a big striped mojarra he was hesitant to use. 

    If you can find a light source that shines down from above the water, those tend to be more productive, in my experience at least. One of the biggest snook I ever caught was past the edge of a street light shining down on the water.  So when the fishing is tough targeting those snook in the lights, might as well put a big bait out in the dark. Eventually those fish in the lights will eat and in the meantime you might get a monster.
  • GeneakersGeneakers Posts: 285 Deckhand

    Under said street lights.. 
  • captbonefishcaptbonefish Posts: 902 Officer
    The comments and advice above are correct. I tried and tried for years, not all the time, but occasionally, to get them to eat on docks at night, lighted or not, with little success. I gave it up and enjoyed watching them after I installed my underwater light.

    Now if you can find a dock in a pass, with lots of hard moving water, that's a different story. Those fish will generally respond to some artificials, and definitely live bait such as pinfish, big shrimp, and big scaled sardines, or dead mullet and ladyfish. 
  • JW_YakAnglerJW_YakAngler Posts: 301 Deckhand
    The underslot snook that are swimming around in the lights are often keyed in on glass minnows. A tiny tube jig will often do the trick on them, but as has been mentioned, the monsters stay out of the lights and are lurking in the dark nearby.
    My YouTube channel: JakeW KayakFishing
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,909 Captain
    Smaller snook in dock lights are suckers for small white flies... For lures we switch to small lead heads, 1/8oz, with Gulp tails when we’re not using DOA 1/4oz shrimp...

    We’re over on the Atlantic side of things and most of my night charters are between Miami and Miami Beach.  I’ve been fishing that area since the early seventies, but only took up guiding in 1996.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Paucan6005Paucan6005 Posts: 95 Deckhand
    Great info thank you. Chunks of lady fish or drift them live? 
  • captbonefishcaptbonefish Posts: 902 Officer
    I assume you're asking me, in a pass with fast current, drifting live is great if you have them. If you have dead ladyfish, chunks, put them on the bottom with heavy lead, and pay the line back as needed so as not to drag the bait. Snook are scavengers, and scavenge the bottom in passes happily. Much like a tarpon behaves. They do move vertically up and down the water column though, depending on where the food is. 
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,909 Captain
    edited April 2020 #11
    During daytime in the Everglades most of our big snook come to ladyfish - both live and dead ( and you could say the same for almost every big specimen of every species there -redfish and speckled trout only on cut bait...).

    We fish only ladyfish we catch ourselves each day - and when we’re fishing chunks I want them from a fish that was kicking when we cut it... 

    For snook we use the exact same rig for both live and dead ladies.  A rod’s length of 80lb mono with a 5/0 Eagle Claw #85 hook and an egg sinker on the leader that is slid right down to the hook (it’s called a knocker rig).  A live lady is hooked just like a live mullet  (hook inside the mouth - then out of the top jaw).  Sinkers range from 1/2oz all the way up to 1 1/2 oz -depending on the current at each spot).

    Each rod for either live or dead bait is left in gear in a rod holder using standard fighting drag -no “drop back ” ever... I tell my anglers not to touch the rod until it bends over and the reel screams... We only fish one or two rods this way while we're anchored or staked out.  After the big rods are set out we then use lures around whatever structure we're fishing and just let the bottom rods sit quietly until a bait is picked up (then it's pandemonium...).

    At night I wouldn’t set up any differently... We only fish cut bait in places where there is a noticeable current...

    Fishing with these baits we’ve caught and released some really big fish - snook up to 25lbs, sawfish up to 14 feet long, sharks as big as they get. Goliath grouper, gag grouper,  big jack crevalle, cobia, redfish -our biggest - 35lbs, tripletail to 18lbs, tarpon as big as they get (but for tarpon we use a float -not a sinker).

    I wouldn’t do any different if fishing at night - but in Biscayne Bay at night we’re mostly using flies or lures... since there's bait around at night there only occasionally... 

    Be a hero... Take a kid fishing
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Paucan6005Paucan6005 Posts: 95 Deckhand
    Thanks guys really appreciate it. Will report back
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