They’re one of the most aggressive fish in Florida waters and the pure spectacle of a leaping, thrashing snook drives locals and visiting anglers alike to relentless pursuit of this top-shelf game fish. Much of the year, live bait tactics rule the snook action, but with winter driving most of that migratory bait to the state’s southern extremes, the rest of the snook’s range finds these pin-striped predators much more amenable to artificials.

Effective options include:

Twitch baits: The 2 1/2-inch Bomber Saltwater Grade Badonk-A-Donk imitates those sardines the snook dearly miss, while the Mullet does a good job of mimicking the finger mullet these fish readily gobble.

Topwaters: A Heddon Saltwater Super Spook presents another version of the mullet impersonation and walking this bait around docks, deeper sea walls and deep holes in backwater creeks can deliver exciting strikes. (If the fish shy away from the full-size bait, drop down to the Super Spook Jr.)

Soft Plastics: For a lighter approach, slow hopping or erratically jerking a YUM Mud Minnow on a Bomber Shad Head Jig often appeals to snook looking for a winter meal. You might also try showing the fish a different profile with the YUM Money Minnow rigged on a Shad Head or a weighted swimbait hook.

If a warming trend has the snook perked-up and ready to chase, twitch a YUM Swurm on the jig head or swimbait hook and get ready for an explosion.