Snook is a well known summertime favorite here in Homosassa, but what happens as Fall rolls in and water temps start cooling off? Well, they are still here, but tactics change.
Snook are known ambush predators that love smashing moving baitfish. However, in the natural surroundings, bait runs taper off in the Fall and Winter months. In this, Snook tend to get into a more dormant state - not really lethargic, but it's almost like their eggressive switch gets turned off.
Here in Homosassa we are lucky to have a resident snook population. North of here as you head into the big bend of Florida the populations taper off to nil. This has a lot to do with year round water temps - they simply love warmer weather. But at the same time, these guys don't migrate away from here for our seasons.
Since snook seem to hate cooler temps and their aggressiveness tapers off during these times - what to do?
The best bet is a free lined live bait - whatever is available, but white bait fish will always be best. However, pinfish and shrimp can also work well.
The same methodology can be employed when fishing artificial baits. Small suspending twitch bats in natural colors, soft plastic shrimp, and even soft plastic paddle tails will work. Adding a scent to the soft plastics will increase hook up rates - shrimp is my favorite scent.
Now, snook are still to be found in the same areas - mainly along rooted tree systems like mangroves, at ambush points. If you're going to blindly bang the shoreline, move slow. That includes how you work the lure, or let your live bait soak for longer periods than you would in the summer.
Your best bets are to work snook on a day where temps are rising - especially after a cool front. When the temps come back up, they wake up. Work ambush points on moving tides. Snook are generally laid up off to the side and on the opposite side of the moving tide in these points. Bringing passing by baitfish right to them. This is what you want to mimic. Keep it slow, and try several presentation attempts and retrieves.
Work areas that hold snook a little longer and slower in the Fall, and this will help increase your chances of a great hook up.