There’s nothing better than using an artificial lure to hook up on a big snook. Sure, live bait is great and it catches a lot of fish, but there’s something special about lures. They add a level of art to fishing that you can’t get with anything else.
Choosing the right snook lure can be tricky with so many options out there. Tackle store shelves are full of lures that promise to deliver more fish, but that’s impossible to verify until you actually test them in the water.
I’ve rounded up a list of all of my personal favorite options. Even though there is no one-size-fits-all lure, I’ve managed to narrow down a great lineup over my years of fishing. Topwaters, jerk baits, soft plastics- you’ll find them all on this list.
These are the lures that are always on my boat and have always done a great job of reliably producing snook in all kinds of situations.
#1 MirrOLure Mirrodine
About the lure
- Price: (Click to check current MirrOLure Mirrodine price on Amazon)
- Lure Type: Suspending Twitchbait
If there’s one lure that you can always find on my boat, it’s the MirrOLure Mirrodine. The Mirrodine is a suspending twitchbait that, in my opinion, is one of the most versatile lures on the planet.
You can fish it slow, fast, or somewhere in between. You can fish it on grass flats or in open water. You can pull it close to the surface or let it drop down further in the water column. There’s almost no limit to what you can do with this lure.
And you’ll be glad to know that snook love them. It catches just about anything you’d want to fish for, snook included. Matter of fact, I’ve caught more snook on the Mirrodine than I have on any other hardbait. Not surprising, as the Mirrodine does a great job of imitating the whitebait that snook are so fond of.
The Mirrodine is also the top pick in my guide to the 11 Best Speckled Trout Lures of All Time.
How to fish it
The beauty of a twitchbait like the Mirrodine is that it is extremely flexible in the way that you fish it. It’s very easy to adjust your style on the fly to match what the snook are biting.
First of all, the lure’s weight makes it perfect for medium to long length casts that can cover a large amount of water. If you’re simply trying to locate fish, it’s easy to start working your casts 360 degrees around you, changing up speeds as you go.
The speed at which you work any lure is a huge factor for catching fish and it’s extremely easy to change speed with the Mirrodine. The design allows the lure to move around naturally with several different styles of retrieve.
My favorite way to fish a Mirrodine is a very slow retrieve that consists of nothing but short jerks of the rod tip. Basically, I like to let the Mirrodine sit still, give it a few quick twitches, then wait for it to start sinking before I repeat. This is perfect for mimicking a wounded baitfish. You’ll come to find that most strikes with this retrieve come after the twitch, right as the lure starts to sink.
I have a ton of success with the slow twitch retrieve, but the Mirrodine still works well if you speed it up a bit. It’s just a solid performer all around, whether you’re finessing it around mangroves or suspending it over potholes on the flats.
As with any twitchbait, pair it with a rod that has a fast tip. You want plenty of “play” in the rod tip when you twitch the lure in the water.
#2 DOA Shrimp
About the lure
- Price: (Click to check current DOA Shrimp price on Amazon)
- Type: Soft Plastic
A selection of DOA Shrimp should be in every snook fisherman’s tackle box. No exceptions. This is a legendary lure that is extremely versatile. You can fish it almost anywhere and snook love it just as much as every other species. Flats, beaches, docks- you’re good to go.
Many inshore fishermen swear by these little artificial shrimp, beginners and seasoned pros alike. They produce fish in all kinds of conditions and they’re simple to use. It’s really hard to mess up.
The DOA Shrimp is one of those rare lures that I think can work well every single day of the year. It’s pretty much season-proof. I’ve caught tons of fish with them on both the hottest summer days and the coldest winter days.
How to fish it
Fishing a DOA Shrimp is super easy, but there are a few different ways to do it.
The most straightforward way to use the lure is to cast it out, let it sink, then work it as slow as possible. Literally, all you have to do is make it crawl on the bottom by reeling as slow as you can, throwing in the occasional twitch.
The slow, straightforward retrieve is great for working the lure over a sandy bottom, but you need to make a minor adjustment on grass flats. When you’re on a grass flat, you simply need to raise your rod tip while you work it. This keeps the line angle up, pulling the shrimp to the top of the grass. The concept is the same, but your goal is now to keep the shrimp moving very slowly over the top of the grass.
If a standard retrieve doesn’t do the trick, the final way I like to fish the DOA Shrimp is with a popping cork. It’s extremely easy to do and you can fish it the same way you would a live shrimp with a cork. Just hook up your cork, give yourself the leader you’d like, and tie on the DOA. Give it a few pops, let it fall, then more pops. This works well for active snook and it’s also a favorite for targeting trout.
#3 Rapala Skitter Walk
About the lure
- Price: (Click to check current Rapala Skitter Walk price on Amazon)
- Type: Topwater
I have a serious addiction to the Skitter Walk. It’s hands down the most satisfying lure I’ve ever fished with and I’ve been known to use it even when I know it’s not the ideal choice, simply because I love it so much.
The Rapala Skitter Walk is a topwater lure with a rattle inside it. The rattle is what makes the thing so satisfying. Once you get into a rhythm, it pops back and forth perfectly. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever fished one. It just feels (and sounds) right.
I’ve fished a ton of topwater lures. Some have been cheap and some have been expensive. None of them have been as consistent out of the box as the Skitter Walks have.
It also can’t be overstated how amazing topwater strikes are. There is nothing more exciting than watching a snook obliterate a lure that you’re masterfully working across the surface of the water.
How to fish it
The Skitter Walk isn’t difficult to work, but it does take a tiny bit of practice to get the feel for it.
First off, you need to set it up properly to get the most out of the lure. The best way to rig the Skitter Walk is to skip the leader and go with straight braid all the way to the lure. This gives you maximum control and eliminates any additional flex or weird angles that can be created with a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader.
Working a Skitter Walk means aiming for a “walk-the-dog” motion. The weight in the back of the lure creates a perfect balance for pulling the front of the lure back and forth in the water. You want to put just enough slack in your line to “pop” the line by giving it a quick jerk. Done correctly, you’ll spin the lure just enough and leave yourself with some slack for the next pop.
Once you practice a bit, you’ll get a good feel for it and you’ll be able to keep a steady, perfect retrieve going where the lure is popping from side to side. It’s just about as much fun as you could possibly have with any artificial lure and it produces some monster strikes.
If you’re on my boat on a calm day, there’s a great chance you’re going to see me pull out a Skitter Walk during the last hour of daylight. I’ve ended many days by pulling a number of snook, redfish, and trout this way.
#4 Sebile Stick Shadd
About the lure
- Price: (Click to check current Sebile Stick Shadd price on Amazon)
- Type: Suspending Jerkbait
The Sebile Stick Shadd is a jerkbait that is intended to fish very similarly to MirrOLure’s Mirrodine. The shape is different though and the lure comes in a handful of different versions, each having a slightly different profile.
Sebile lures are a bit expensive and sometimes hard to find. That’s probably the only thing that keeps me from ranking the Shadd closer to #1, as I often prefer their motion in the water over any other jerkbait/twitchbait. They’ve got a little keel along the bottom that makes them cut a certain way when you twitch them and it has always worked really well for me.
The Stick Shadd is as versatile a hardbait as you’re going to find, especially when you factor in all of the different versions of the lure.
How to fish it
Fishing a Stick Shadd is very similar to fishing a Mirrodine. It just has a different feel and flow to it with it’s shape and weight.
While the retrieve is pretty straightforward for a jerkbait, the usage can drastically change depending on the model of Stick Shadd you’re fishing with. Sebile makes them in a few different styles to give you maximum utility in a number of scenarios.
The Stick Shadd varieties are all based on different levels of buoyancy. You’ve got Sinking, Fast Sinking, Suspending, Floating, and Rocket.
Sinking and Fast Sinking are top choices for deep water. Suspending is great for just about anything and offers maximum control. Floating allows you to fish it in trickier areas like super-shallow grass flats. The Rocket name sometimes confuses people, but it’s simply built heavier for longer casts and has extra single hooks.
You can’t go wrong with this lure. It has arguably the best motion of any twitchbait when you’re working it in the water. My one gripe used to be durability, but I haven’t had as many issues with that these days. It used to be that I’d too easily lose a chunk of a Stick Shadd to a strong bite, but I haven’t had that happen nearly as often lately.
#5 Spro Bucktail Jig
About the lure
- Price: (Click to check current Spro Bucktail Jig price on Amazon)
- Type: Bucktail Jig
If I were stuck on a desert island and needed one effective lure to last as long as possible, I’d almost certainly choose a bucktail jig. They are incredibly useful and they are perfect for targeting snook in all different kinds of water.
The bucktail jig is a simple jighead with a simple feather skirt attached to the collar. It’s highly durable and it’s useful in almost any fishing spot in the world.
You can get bucktail jigs in every weight, color, and size you can think of. They’re also easy to find. I don’t think there’s a good saltwater tackle shop in America that doesn’t carry at least a few good bucktail jigs.
I listed Spro as the brand, but there are tons of other ones out there. Pretty much everyone in the industry has their own version of the bucktail jig. It doesn’t matter much what you go with and they all (for the most part) behave the same way in water. Just get a few different colors and you’re good to go.
How to fish it
In case you haven’t noticed, versatility is a recurring theme on my list of top snook lures. No surprise that I love a good bucktail jig, as it may be the most versatile of all. Any old-school, die-hard saltwater fisherman will generally agree that it’s hard to beat a bucktail jig for maximum utility.
For lethargic fish, very slowly jigging a bucktail on the bottom is perfect for the job. A faster jigging works well for more active fishing. If that doesn’t work, a steady retrieve is also an option with a bucktail. Still no success? Try using the bucktail jig like a jerkbait and really mix it up. It’s pretty hard to mess up and the lure allows you to try just about anything.
Some of the biggest snook I’ve ever caught have been on a bucktail jig in deep, fast-moving water near bridges and passes. The technique is as straightforward as it gets. Once you’ve gotten yourself anchored up (sometimes the trickiest thing to do when you’re in a current that’s ripping through a pass), drop a really heavy bucktail jig straight down. From there, your goal is to lock your bail and RIP that sucker straight up over and over. Your arm might get tired after a while, but that’s okay.
I’ve found that if I can fight through it, I can hook up with some monster snook this way. It just takes a lot of motion to entice a strike in that deep water with fast current.
#6 DOA Cal
There will probably be more than one fisherman who will chide me for not placing the DOA Cal higher on this list. It really is an incredibly useful snook lure and I use it often. It’s a soft plastic that you fish on a jighead. Uber-versatile no matter what you’re after or what time of year it is. You can fish it toward the surface, midway through the water column, or slow down in the grass. The lure’s tail gives it an enticing appearance that produces a ton of strikes.
#7 Live Target Mullet
Live Target is one of those fishing brands that people either love or hate. I’m in the “love” camp, but that’s mainly due to a select few of their lures. The Live Target Mullet is one of my favorite lures to fish.
It’s worth noting that my preference is for the “wakebait” version of the mullet. It has a flattened lip at the front of the lure that gives it a really good feel in the water. It combines with the lure’s jointed tail to produce a really nice swimming motion. I fish it really slow and allow the lure to get the slightest back-and-forth tail motion going. TONS of snook have been put in the boat with this one.
#8 Johnson Silver Minnow Gold
The Johnson Silver Minnow is a spoon that will catch snook, along with almost every other inshore fish. It comes in multiple colors, but I tend to prefer gold over the silver option. They’re super inexpensive and super easy to use, so there’s no excuse not to have a few of them in your tackle box. They’re also one of the best lures for fan casting in order to cover a ton of water to find fish.
#9 Zara Spook
The Zara Spook is probably THE snook fisherman’s topwater lure. For some reason, it’s almost always the one you hear about when you’re talking about targeting snook exclusively. It’s definitely a great lure and I’ve caught plenty of fish on it, but I personally just find myself using the Skitter Walk far more often. Still, I always have a Spook or two onboard.
Choice of topwater lure is really just a preference thing from fisherman to fisherman.
#10 Yo Zuri Crystal Minnow or Crystal Shrimp
I love Yo Zuri lures. All of their hardbaits have really good designs that make them really appealing in the water. The Crystal Minnow/Crystal Shrimp is no exception. They’re slightly different lures, but I really couldn’t pick one over the other. Both are lipped jerkbaits that are really erratic with any kind of retrieve.
There’s a learning curve to using these the right way, but they can pull some consistent fish once you get it right.
#11 Gulp! Shrimp
I had to do it. For the uninitiated, Gulp! Shrimp are probably the most polarizing “lure” in fishing. They’re soft plastic shrimp that come in jugs of scented liquid. The liquid soaks into the shrimp and to give them an extremely potent smell. (The smell popped into my brain as I typed that.) Bottom line is that, love them or hate them, you can catch a lot of fish on Gulps.
You can use them like you’d use any jig, but oftentimes the most productive way is to simply “dead stick” them. By “dead stick”, I mean to literally throw them out and let them sit there. You’d be surprised at how many snook (and a ton of redfish) will scoop them off the bottom. The downside is that you’ve got to fight through a potential swarm of pinfish and catfish trying to ruin your life.
While the order can be debated, I’m confident that you can catch a ton of snook if you put a combination of these lures in your tackle box. There are plenty of other good lures out there, but these are the lures that I’ve personally found to be the real moneymakers when it comes to consistently catching quality snook.
There’s something here for every fishing spot, every style, and every season. If you love to work artificial lures, I can guarantee you that you’re not going to get bored if you have this assortment with you.
Let us know if we helped you put more snook in the boat. Or just let us know what your favorite lure is for the job!