Hooking a snook on light tackle is a pretty exciting fishing experience. One you don’t want to miss.
What is a Snook?
Snook are saltwater fish that belong to the family Centropomidae. Snook are the only fishes in the Centropomidae family. There are 12 recognized species; five live in U.S. waters. They differ in overall size and the size of their scales. The main snook of interest to anglers is the largest member of the family called the Common Snook (Centropomus undecimalis) which is also known as the Robalo or Sergeant Fish.
Snook are streamlined with a tapered head and yellow-tinted fins. All snook have a very distinctive black stripe running longitudinally, roughly along the lateral line.
The average size is around 1-1/2 feet and 5-10 pounds. They can grow to over 4? and weigh over 50 lbs.
In 1978 Gilbert Ponzi off Costa Rica caught the world record for Common Snook weighing 53 lbs. 10 oz. F larger snook (60 lbs. even) was recently caught in March of 2014 – but it was a Pacific Snook.
Where to catch them
Snook like to hang around docks, sea walls, bridges and jetties. Places that can be accessed by boat as well as on foot. Inlets and passes, especially John’s Pass and Clearwater Pass – anywhere there is a good, fast flow of water. Snook are seldom found in waters deeper than 60 feet. May and June are the best months here on the Gulf Coast, and fishing at night is most productive for very big fish – not just during the peak of a full moon.
Sport Fishing Magazine says “during summer, when their metabolism is at its highest, snook attack lures such as chartreuse plugs and top water baits. For fall and winter, smaller lures work best at slower speeds. If you would rather utilize a natural offering, a lively 4- to 5-inch greenie (threadfin herring) or jumbo shrimp is tops”.
Best bait or lures
Snook eat whatever they can find – shrimp, baitfish, crustaceans, and- on occasion even each other. Some of the best lure options are top-water, spoons, Jigs, live bait, and flies.
“They can’t tolerate cold water, not even for a couple of days. Snook become lethargic when water temperatures fall to 65 degrees F and begin to die once temperatures hit 60. Florida’s cold snap in January 2010 was a tragic demonstration of this tendency, when an estimated 42 percent of the snook population perished”, reports Sport Fishing Magazine.
Snook can tolerate a wide range of salinity, and younger fish seem to prefer the less saline waters near estuaries.
Female lives around 21 years while males live about 15 years.
Good to eat
Snook meat is white with a medium firmness, not as delicate as trout but not as dense as swordfish. It is a good idea to take the skin off. That’s why it is nicknamed the soap fish. Just take off the fillet, remove the skin, add some seasonings or marinade, pitch it in the fridge, and you’re done.