Targeting Snook In Tampa Bay Backwaters

Targeting Snook In Tampa Bay Backwaters

Last Updated on April 25, 2022 by Eric

The backwaters of Tampa Bay are a hotspot for snook activity, with long stretches of mangrove trees serving as the perfect place for snook to lie in wait to ambush prey.

A picture of Targeting Snook In Tampa Bay Backwaters with Bag´Em Fishing Charters

Backwater (Backcountry) Snook Fishing In Tampa

Fishing for snook in bay area backwaters takes a certain amount of skill and know-how to reach fish tucked back in the nooks and crannies of mangrove tree systems. Below, check out some of the best tactics and strategies for hooking up with snook in the Bay area.

Fishing The Mangroves For Snook

Skipping baits under overhanging mangrove branches is a key tactic for catching snook in backwater areas. Hitting the right spot is key to eliciting the most bites. Skipping is not an easy technique to master, but with practice and guidance from a seasoned fisherman, many anglers will be able to take advantage of this highly effective technique. Soft plastics like flukes are among the best baits to skip because you can texas rig them, which buries the hook in the bait, decreasing the likelihood of snagging a mangrove during the retrieve.

A picture of Targeting Snook In Tampa Bay Backwaters with Bag´Em Fishing Charters

Live Bait

Fishing live bait near mangroves can be highly effective as well but presents its own set of challenges. Skipping live baits requires experience, but it is probably the best way to connect with the most numbers of fish.

Casting live bait close to the edge of the overhanging mangrove branches also works well to attract the attention of snook. However, live bait is naturally inclined to head towards the cover of the root systems of mangroves which is good and bad. It’s excellent for fishing because that’s a likely hangout for waiting snook. However, it can be tricky to keep bait from getting stuck.

Fishing live bait on a popping cork can help. By using a bobber, you can see how close your bait is getting to the trees, and use your rod and reel to control the proximity of the bait to branches and root systems.

If you’re having trouble skipping, try casting at openings in the mangroves. You’ll have an easier target and benefit from better odds of landing fish because there’s not as much for them to wrap around during a fight.

A picture of Targeting Snook In Tampa Bay Backwaters with Bag´Em Fishing Charters


Being quiet is vital to catching snook in Tampa backwaters. Slight sounds can spook snook out of casting distance, so it’s critical to avoid any loud or sudden sounds, especially on the bottom of the boat or deck, as that kind of noise can reverberate through the water.

Furthermore, being stealthy is critical to approaching snook so that you can have the best shot at being close enough with the right angle to make accurate casts. Avoid rapid movements as you get close to likely snook hideouts. Also, try to position yourself to create the smallest possible shadow, so fish are less likely to detect your presence. Stealth is so important that many anglers even avoid wearing bright colors.

A picture of Targeting Snook In Tampa Bay Backwaters with Bag´Em Fishing Charters

Fighting Snook Near Mangroves

Finally, once you’ve hooked up with a snook, you’ll need to do everything to keep the fish from diving back into the root systems.

Managing the fight is crucial to your success. If the snook can take control during the battle and head back to cover, they may wrap you up, or your line may be cut on the roots or shells under the trees. Using a strong braid with a heavy fluorocarbon leader is essential to hauling fish out of the trees. Also, maintain consistent pressure on the fish to have better control over the direction that the fish can swim, which will increase your odds of keeping the fish out of cover.

A picture of Targeting Snook In Tampa Bay Backwaters with Bag´Em Fishing Charters


As you can see, there are a number of strategies to catch snook in the backwaters of Tampa Bay. Some require special knowledge and skill to put the tactics to work. Capt. Bucky here at Bag‘Em Fishing Charters knows the ins and outs of successful snook fishing. Get in touch with him today to start planning your snook fishing adventure and put his expertise to work for you!

“Our group had a blast with Capt. Casey. The boat was comfortable and had plenty of room to accommodate our group of 5. Very knowedgable, very friendly and great fisherman. The redfish and trout where great for dinner.”
Richard P. from PA.
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