Greetings all, and welcome to Sunshine Ace Hardware’s Fishing Blog! We’ll be sharing fun information and intel on what’s hot here in Southwest Florida’s fishing community. We will feature insight from the Sunshine Ace team’s personal experiences, friends and local captains – all right here.

SEPTEMBER 2023 UPDATE

Well, summer heat also means a hot SNOOK bite here in Southwest Florida. I’ve been in Florida all my life, and we used to spend summers in the Florida Keys, specifically Fiesta Key near Layton. It was there that I caught my first Snook in 1978. I was fishing off the seawall at the campground one night after supper, blind casting with a MirroLure 7M. The Snook struck hard and fast, peeling line and jumping in the dark. A buddy heard the ruckus and came over to see what was going on. He jumped in the water to help land it, and folks, I’ve been hooked on Snook ever since! To date, the Snook is my favorite fish to target.

My Go-To Lure: Topwater

You all know I’m an artificial lure guy, so I’ll share some of my go-to lures for Snook — some old school and some fairly new. Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats a topwater strike, and lures like the MirroLure Top Dog and Top Pup, along with the Rapala Skitterwalk. These are tried and true slayers. The cadence of the walk-the-dog action on a calm summer morning along a mangrove edge and the sudden, explosive POP of that strike will wake you up quicker than hot coffee! One fairly new topwater lure design that I’ve used a lot lately is a Wake Bait, specifically the Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Surface Minnow. This is likely the easiest topwater plug to use, and if you’ve ever observed a mullet cruising by and that subtle wake it makes at the surface, you’ll then understand the genius of this design. It’s a slow retrieve with an occasional pause, and again, massive and jarring topwater strikes to wreck the calm. My Yo-Zuri is literally shredded and keeps working.

A Classic Lure: Don’s Potbelly Jig

Another classic we are all familiar with is the Bucktail or Feather Jig. A local-owned business rendition of these is the Don’s Potbelly Jigs. Recently, I’ve been drawn to using jigs again, and the Don’s has been a legit slayer! I use the white 3/8 oz jig tipped with a piece of shrimp or a strip of the Fishbites EZ shrimp. This setup will draw the most finicky Snook to bite. It’s a great search bait that casts well, has a great sink rate, and again, is easy to use. Just slowly roll it back to you close to the bottom, with the occasional jigging motion, and you too will become a believer in the jig and come back to using this well-known classic lure.

Soft Baits: The Texas Rig

Finally, soft baits, soft plastics… I heard a wise man once say that inshore and backcountry fishing is like bass fishing with tides. Well, folks, dust off your Zooms and Z-man, and put them to work! A good old Texas rig with a fluke/jerk shad, and you have my favorite Snook lure. The Texas rig is pretty much weedless and allows an aggressive cast that will enable you to be bold and put the bait “in their living room” deep into the mangroves where those wily big girls will be hiding out. Almost any 4- or 5-inch variation in white, off-white or white with specs is what I have tied on and thrown 95% of the time. Organic colors like Pinfish, Shiner, Shad and Houdini are also solid performers and second choices in my arsenal. Cast it, let it settle, and it’s a simple jerk and pause, almost like a sub-surface walk-the-dog action. Just remember, it’s a slower retrieve than you may think… keep that lure in the strike zone and make that Snook WANT IT.

Final Words of Wisdom

That’s it for now, folks. Stay hydrated, stay safe and tight lines to you all! Join the chat, and let us know how you all are doing and what’s working for you (just don’t share your secret spots!).

By Joe Garcia, Brand Fishing Ambassador at Sunshine Ace Hardware.

Contact Joe for information on the hottest new fishing gear in stock, local fishing tips and more: JGarcia@SunshineAce.com

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