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Indian River Snook

Snook Information for Fishing the IRL

Friday June 22, 2018

During the spring and fall on the Indian River you can find some awesome snook fishing on the Indian River Lagoon just east of Orlando and west of Cocoa Beach and the barrier island running along the Florida coastline. Typically we find snook near tidal flow areas near Sebastian Inlet, Fort Pierce and Port Canaveral Florida in the Indian River, but snook show up in places all over the Indian River Lagoon during certain seasons and weather conditions.

Snook are a favorite sportsfish and are often targeted during the transition periods of spring and fall in Central Florida on the Lagoon because they come out of the winter hungry and then go toward the winter with a passion to fatten up for the short mild winters in Florida. During the winter is often one of the most difficult times to pursue these tropical fish as they become less active, but as the water warms up they head toward the beach where the biggest ones spawn. It's during these transition periods as they go to and come back from spawning that you'll find snook in the Indian River lagoon with more abundance.

During the spring, snook come out of their cold winter slumber and head toward the inlets preparing to spawn and on the way they forage for food and look for calories to give energy for their active spawning season. In the fall they come to the inlets and prepare for the first winters cold to send them south or toward fresher waters and warmer areas.

You can find snook in the backwaters, on the beaches, in the inlets and often the wise anglers will find larger ones on the shallow water flats of the Indian River. It's fun, but often frustrating to fish for snook around docks and structure on the lagoon, but you'd better be prepared with stout tackle and quick reactions as these fish know where the pilings and structure is and immediately head there to break off your line.

"I have the privilege of heading to the inland waters of the Indian River lagoon often throughout the year and I simply love looking for snook and catching them on the shallow waterways and backwaters." explains Captain Gina (pictured on the page). "It's a great way to spend a warm day in the sun working on my tan and spending time with my hubby", explains Captain Gina Bradley of Lagooner Fishing Guides.

A Word From the Captain
About Indian River Snook

Snook are an advanced species of fish for most anglers, usually requiring expert timing and fish fighting tactics. Your presentation can mean the difference between getting a bite and not and then once hooked snook turn into one of the smartest and hardest fighting inshore fish in the world, weaving their way into rocks, docks while jumping, leaping, twisting simultaneously shaking their heads, flaring their gills and throwing the hooks. If there was a fish that I consider my favorite, snook has to be very close to the top of the list if not the first one.

Be aware that snook are not for everyone... A beginning anger can quickly become discouraged to find that fishing is more work, technique and requires more skill than they have presently. In the fall and winter we often pursue snook at night and into the early mornings. Low light conditions make casting challenging even for advanced anglers. Some snook fishing requires and expert cast to get the bait or lure presented to the snook and then make a natural presentation that will convince these intelligent fish to bite.

Snook in the IRC

Indian River Snook are no different than any other snook in the world and they're fun to catch for many anglers looking to put another species notch on their belts or just looking for a great time of fishing for a prestigious and tasty fish on the Indian River Lagoon.

Captain Gina's been pulling in fish since before we were married in 1990 and her practice and skills shows here as she lands another nice snook on the Indian River Lagoon.

Where are Snook in June?

Snook spend their summer months of June, July and August on the beaches. Like many of our Florida tourist snook like to lay close to shore when it's calm and have sex at the water's edge (pun intended). Snook typically won't go far from the inlet or port that they are aquainted with so generally speaking they can often be found pretty close to where their fall migration to the inlets for the fall mullet run will supply them with the much needed post spawn calories.

Snook are one of my all time favorite fish to pursue as they have everything it takes to make them a great gamefish. Snook not only fight hard, but have tricks and pranks to play on the angler from the time their hooked up till after you land them. A typical snook tactic is to find the nearest structure thus breaking you off. If your quick and lucky enough to survive the first run to cover, the snook will proceed to show you the power his broad strong tail provides him, then comes the aerobatics...

Of course the snook is difficult to fight on the line but an angler must first find these smart game fish that are often lurking after dark or around structure (see above). Structure provides ambush opportunities and safe haven for the snook and is often the best place to hunt for and locate them. Once found it's often difficult to entice a snook to eat and can as frustrating as arguing with a woman (you'll more than likely loose). Landing a snook can be as dangerous as handling a bunch of double edge razors as the snooks gills are sharp and flailing for the opportunity to defend against the unsuspecting angler.

The rewards of landing a snook are not only in the satisfaction of victory, but in the fine white fillets that this gamefish offers. Snook are known as one of the best eating inshore species in Florida and there's not much better than snook on the plate.

Snook are inshore fish with an attitude. They are generally a golden yellow in color with a dark black lateral line (stripe) running the length of their body. Their mouth is similar to a large mouth bass' size & shape, yet their gills are razor sharp so watch out when handling these guys.

Most anglers don't know about or haven't caught the four species of snook in Florida. In East Central Florida waters we have alot of common and fat snook. The tarpon and swordspine are more frequent in South Florida.

Snook are revered as one of the most prestigious fish to catch, partly because they tend to be finicky about how and when they will approach a presented bait but mostly because of their fighting tactics (which seem unfair). But if you want to tangle with a fish thats' bound and determined to give you a brutal fight... SNOOK is your fish.

Varieties of Snook Species in the Atlantic
Common Snook
Fat Snook
Tarpon Snook
SwordSpine Snook

From central Florida south, usually INSHORE in coastal and brackish waters, along mangrove shorelines, seawalls, and bridges; also on reefs and pilings NEARSHORE. They are usually low-light or nocturnal feeders so get up early or fish at night for these large inshore preditors.

Snook fishing in East Central Florida is most often during the late spring, summer and fall months and starts to fade into the colder winter months. Typically during the winter months snook either head south or look for backwater areas where the water temperatures are move favorable. Don't look for snook to be active feeders during the winter months of January - March unless we have prolonged warm fronts or indian summers that bring the snook into a more active feeding cycle. During the spring snook are migrating toward their summer June-August spawning grounds along the beaches near inlets and ports. Snook often stage between their winter holdouts and the spawning grounds on spoil islands, docks and structure before heading out to meet their mates on the beach.

Late summer and fall produce some of the best fishing for snook at locations like Sebastian Inlet, Port Canaveral or Cocoa Beach.

Backwater snook can be fished for with a wide variety of artificials from jerk baits to top waters and plugs, much like bass anglers do around shorelines and structure including mangroves, stumps, docks, etc...

Saltwater flats often hold nice sized snook, look for baitfish, nearby structure including dropoffs or mangrove shorelines or docks. Fish for flats snook with live bait like pilchards or greenies or subtle shrimp or baitfish imitations. Remember that snook like the comfort of structure and can feel vulnerable in the open flat. Often snook have to be excited with live chum to get them to cooperate in open water flats.

Inlet fishing is usually done at night with livebait by drifting during the preferred tide phase (usually outgoing) or throwing plugs like bombers, rapalas or other baitfish imitations. This type of fishing is not for the novice and can be very challenging on the angler. You often break off and must have above average skills when fishing in heavy currents at night during the outgoing tides and fall swells.

Snook spawn primarily in summer; cannot tolerate water temperatures below 60 degrees F; can tolerate wholly fresh or saltwater; schools along shore and in passes during spawning season; feeds on fish and large crustaceans.


Snook in East Central Florida have many different habitats and conditions that make them a great target for anglers looking for variable ways to catch this elusive fish. Juvenile fish can be caught in the estuaries, canals and backwater areas almost all year long. While not as prestigious as large breeder snook, they are non-the-less enjoyable to catch and will bite on everything from baitcasters to flyrods and everything between. Juvenile snook are suckers for artificial's and readily take live bait as well.

Big breeding snook spawn on or near the beaches of Central Florida and always have a passageway or access to the beaches or inlets available to them. The only time a breeder snook is generally caught in the backwaters here is because it's a cooler transitional time period usually. Canaveral snook spend their winter months in the Port under docks, wharfs and around other structure like boats and pilings. You often see them hanging around the lights at night in small and large schools. Sebastian Inlet Snook are caught in the inlet itself during the summer and fall months and many of the larger snook migrate south to Jupiter Inlet or hunker down in the fresh warmer water of the Sebastian River a short distance away.

Articles and Photos about Snook

Sebastian Inlet Snook Fishing
Catching Breeding Snook on the Beach Video
Port Canaveral Snook Fishing
IGFA World Record Sized Snook
Night Snook Fishing in Port Canaveral
Double Hookup Snook
Beach Snook From Boat
Kids Catch Snook
Big Snook On Beach
Father Son Snook Fishing
Mosquito Lagoon Snook
Daytona Snook Fishing
Orlando Snook Fishing
Canaveral Snook Fishing
Cocoa Beach Snook Fishing
Indian River Snook Fishing
Indian River Rabalo Fishing


Not less than 28" or more than 32" Atlantic - Not less than 28" or more than 33" Gulf of Mexico, Monroe County, Everglades Nat. Park

Season Closed December 15th thru January 31st & June thru August on the Atlantic Coast.
Decemeber thru February & May thru August on the Gulf of Mexico, Monroe County, Everglades National Park

State Record

44 Pounds, 3 Ounces

Snook Fishing on the Indian River

Reviewed by Captain Richard Bradley on Last modified: April 08 2018 14:05:54.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

Captain Gina Displaying the Lagooner Form
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Fishing Reports

June - 2018 Fishing Report

Fishing Forecast

June - 2018 Fishing Forecast

June of 2018 is looking to be a hot summer with hot fishing off of East Central Florida near Cocoa Beach. Orlando visitors should anticipate the warm weather and great fishing that coastal and offshore fishing provides in the warm Atlantic Ocean this time of year. Last year in 2017 we saw many tarpon exceeding 100 pounds caught off the Brevard County beaches along with a good amount of sharks, king mackerel and really big Jack Crevelle that kept things interesting. Looking forward to this year's forecast on the Space Coast remember that the coastal waters along the Atlantic seaboard and Ocean will probably be the most productive fishing during the month of June and as we look in to August the ocean will look to be the most inviting destination for anglers in the heat of the Central Florida Summer.

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Inshore and Offshore Charter Fishing near Orlando and Cocoa Beach, Florida. Catch redfish, sea trout, tarpon, snook and many other saltwater gamefish aboard the world famous Lagooner flats fishing boat with renowned Captain Richard Bradley.

Had a blast with Captain Richard too bad weather didn't cooperate he still put us on some fish.
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