8 Epic Snook Fishing Destinations in Florida

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Florida offers anglers a world-class fishing experience. One of the most adrenaline-pumping targets here is the snook. Finding the best snook fishing in Florida will put you right on the beach. Not a bad way to start a fishing trip.

The surf is where you’ll find these aggressive monsters. They cruise through the shallows chasing crabs. It’s a crazy thing to see a three-foot fish slamming a crab in water barely deep enough to keep it covered. 

Like most things in Florida, there’s something a little “different” about snook fishing. For years their numbers kept falling as anglers considered them less than worthy.

As angling habits have changed, so did the chances of catching a massive snook right on the beach. These days there are plenty of fantastic spots to bring in one of these monster fish. Anglers no longer consider snook anything but superb gamefish.

The best snook fishing spots range widely, from easy-to-reach beaches to offshore keys requiring a boat.

Let’s dig into these snook hotspots.

Best Snook Fishing in Florida

Angler holds good-sized snook caught along the Florida coast.
Photo by Rick Bach

Snook are the perfect choice to go after if you’re looking for true sport. Lucky for anglers like us, central and southern Florida waters are filled with them. Be prepared for some blistering runs and nerve-wracking acrobatics.

Anclote Key

The first destination is only accessible by boat, sitting in the Gulf off the shoreline north of Tampa Bay. There are ferry services available to transport you back and forth. It’s in a nature preserve with some of the most breathtaking water you’ll ever see.

Head to the beach on Anclote Key, and you are like to spot snook right away. The best months are May and June, with the end of May being the prime time. 

Toss a 1/0 circle hook with a live sardine, shrimp, or crab, and let it move in the surf. Be on the lookout for a fish the size of your leg to come sauntering up the trough and smack your line like it’s mad at it.

You’ll need to hold on for a few blistering runs, then settle in for an epic fight with a massive snook.

If you’re out on a boat, follow the fish into as shallow water as you dare and fish with live bait or try out the MirrOdine from MirrOLure. It’s a great lure for any snook scenario.

If the water’s super calm, try your luck with a popper or buzz bait. Nothing compares to having a snook smack a topwater. 

Nothing that is, unless you toss a Clouser minnow on an 8wt fly rod. Strip it back slightly ahead of the snook, and you’ll have a great day.

There are no services on the islands here, so come prepared. Primitive camping is allowed. Check out the lighthouse while on the island. It’s been there since 1887.

Clearwater/Honeymoon Island

Clearwater is a fantastic spot for snook fishing.

The entire St. Joseph Sound south of Anclote Key to Clearwater can be great for everything from tarpon to redfish. Snook enjoy the same areas.

The top spot in Clearwater is Honeymoon Island, a couple of miles due west of Palm Harbor. The north and south ends, in particular, provide some intense action with big snook.

Come prepared for a battle. Boat fishing can be great, though casting live shrimp from the beach is the most productive. 30-pound-plus fish are relatively common, and you can occasionally find them closer to 40 pounds.

Catch the ferry to the island, or drive out on the Dunedin Causeway. Stop along the causeway to get into some great redfish and snook action.

The north end of Honeymoon Island is a trek to reach, but if you make the trip, you’ll find plenty of space to spread out. The beach on the inland-facing shore is the prime spot.

Try using live bait. Cast into the shallow channels that give access to the troughs on the beach. These channels will have snook cruising in and out of their preferred feeding zones. The water here is crystal clear, so you should be able to sight fish with ease.

The southern end of Honeymoon Island has some amazing spots on the Gulf side. Again, live bait is the best, but Clouser minnows stripped along the beach can be exceptional here.

The majority of the island is the pristine Honeymoon Island State Park. A few cafes and stores are along the southern end.

Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay has some of the best fishing in Florida.

Snook are everywhere around the islands and can be a fun target next to any of the passes throughout the bay system. Here you can target them in a range of water situations, from tannin-colored brackish waters to gin-clear beaches.

Fort DeSoto County Park has a perfect spot along the shore at the north side of the bay’s main entrance.

Not far from there, the park’s Arrowhead Fishing Area on the north end along Bunce’s Pass is not to be missed.

Another great location is along the southern shoreline, looking towards Egmont Pass.

On the south side of the bay’s mouth, Anna Maria Island has all the beach fishing you can handle. Snook are regulars along the northern end and tend to be active in the mornings. If you can make it before sunrise, do so.

Farther south, Longboat Key has some great spots along the inlets on each end of the Key. 

Along with the epic fishing, you’ll find fantastic bird watching and all the sunbathing on the beach you can handle. The islands have plenty of amenities. If you can’t find something, Tampa is just up the road.

Cape Coral

Cape Coral near Fort Myers is an excellent spot for snook and also easily among the best places on the Gulf side of Florida for tarpon fishing. That’s largely thanks to Boca Grande.

Boca Grande is on Gasparilla Island.

There’s a pass between the Gulf and the Gasparilla Sound that moves enough water and baitfish that it fills up with massive snook, tarpon, and sharks and could possibly be the winter home of Nessie. Well, maybe not that last one, but something is swimming in there for practically every type of angler.

Hit the southern end of the island and toss live bait along the pass for the best action. You might catch anything.

On the southern side of Boca Grande, you’ll find another incredible fishery at Cayo Costa State Park.

The shoreline here gets far less attention than it deserves. That’s due to it being accessible only by boat.

If you manage to get out there, you might have a significant portion of the perfect beach to yourself! North Captiva is nearby and has the same incredible opportunities.

Captiva Island and Sanibel Island stand out not only for their snook fishing but because of the amount of access you can find—plenty of beachfront to set up your gear without the hassle of swimmers everywhere. Snook fishing on these islands is otherworldly. Many anglers consider them the best snook fisheries in the state.

Cape Coral has everything to get you ready to fight these epic creatures.

Florida Keys

The Keys are always a go-to for Florida saltwater fishing, famous for bonefish and a whole lot more. Snook is no different.

The best snook fishing areas in the Keys are the southernmost, lower Keys. Look at Key West and then the backcountry between there and the Everglades.

Snook like to hang around structure here, so mangrove shorelines produce particularly well. Drag a live bait through the area, and one’s bound to snatch it.

Plenty of snook can be found throughout the area, plus the season stretches a bit longer here. You’re likely to find snook from early spring through late fall.

The flats surrounding Key West, Cudjoe, and Big Pine Key are full of big snook. 30-pounders are common. You might struggle to find snook bigger than 30 pounds here, but moving to the Atlantic side and into the Jupiter Island area will rectify that.


Snook in Miami are aggressive beach fishing targets. In one or two areas, you might even get to fish without jet skis and swimmers clogging up the troughs. (I’m not annoyed.)

Most of Miami’s beaches are perfect spots for big snook. Watch for them moving in the surf and lead them with your live bait. Cast a shrimp and let it sit. The snook will do the rest.

Avoid beaches that have recently been “upgraded” with beach revitalization efforts. The snook avoid them for the most part. There are plenty of other spots to try your luck.

Hit the beach early, preferably before sunrise. That will give you a jump on the snook and the water enthusiasts out there.

Jupiter Island

The area around Jupiter is blessed with fish. Snook are here in big numbers and massive sizes. This is THE place for snook fishing on Florida’s Atlantic coast.

Spend your afternoons working on your tan after an epic morning of catching 40-pound-plus snook.

A snook caught here in 2015 came in over 45 pounds, and word has it there are bigger ones in the area.

The roughly mile of shoreline from Coral Cove Park south to the Jupiter Inlet has perfect spots for sight fishing snook.

The Jupiter Inlet is a must if fishing from a boat. They love the edges of the channel and will smack almost anything moving.

A little farther north, Blowing Rocks Preserve is another spot to focus your attention. It’s got all the rocky structure you could hope for and plenty of snook as the payoff.

Heading farther up the island, Hobe Sound Beach offers fun action but can get a bit silty in rough waters.

Jupiter has most things you’ll need for your trip. If you can’t find it here, several larger cities are right next door.

Fort Pierce Area

Up the coast, the Fort Pierce area has some great spots for snook. Hutchinson Island, Walton Rocks, Bathtub Beach, and Jensen Beach offer high-quality snook fishing.

Walton Rocks is fantastic, though it is just south of a nuclear power plant. If that doesn’t bother you and you want to catch massive (possibly glowing) snook, head here and work the rocks.

The fish are in there. You need patience to find them.

Hutchinson Island is home to Bathtub Beach and Jensen Beach. Jensen is known to have epic fishing as long as the water stays calm. Rough waters will muck up the clarity for days. Bathtub Beach is the opposite: Crystal clear and full of snook.

Any of these areas should pay off either from shore or by boat, and 

Fort Pierce has everything you need for your excursion.