: Centropomus undecimalis
Line side, Robalo, Ravillia.
A tropical species, Snook are found on the larger islands of the
Caribbean, including Cuba, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. They are absent
from the Bahamas, except for an occasional straggler in Bimini. In
Florida, they are largely confined to about the lower half of the
Peninsula. However, a few successive years without damaging freezes will
send them spreading northward, particularly on the Atlantic Coast, where
they have been fishable even around Jacksonville at times. On the Gulf
side, the Homosassa River seems to be the limit of their range, although
wondering individuals are caught in the Panhandle on occasion. Even on
the lower Gulf Coast, occasional freezes kill many Snook. Serious kills
are far less common on the Atlantic side, where deeper, warmer water is
closer at hand to provide a haven.
The Snook has a most distinctive body shape, featuring a tapered head
and snout, under slung lower jaw, large fins and, most distinctive of
all, a prominent black stripe running the full length of the lateral
line. The stripe is present in all species of Snook. Coloration is
generally dark gray to black on the dorsal surface, shading to silvery
on the sides. The fins are yellowish. As with many inshore fish, the
coloration may vary with season and habitat. Snook of inside waters
usually have darker sides.
Generally, the size range is from 3 to 15 pounds. Snook weighing 20 to
30 pounds are not unusual on either coast, especially around inlets and
passes during the summer, when spawning takes place. A number of Snook
topping 40 pounds have been caught over the years on both coasts, and
the maximum may be 60 or more. World record 53 pounds, 10 ounces.
FLORIDA RECORD : 44 pounds, 3
ounces - Fort Meyers - April 25, 1984
Snook are proportionately very thick through the shoulders, and their
fillets represent a higher portion of total weight than most other fish.
The fillets are mild yet flavorful and are ranked at the top of nearly
everyone's list of favorite fish.
One of the best for all-around fighting ability. The fight is usually
featured by several long runs and a few jumps. Small Snook leap high in
the manner of Ladyfish, while the really big females manage to clear
only about half their bodies. Snook also are past masters at utilizing
shoreline roots or any other obstructions to their advantage.
TACKLE AND BAITS:
Even though spinning and bait casting tackle are the most used, light
saltwater boat rods get plenty of action, particularly when live-baiting
in passes and inlets. Even heavier gear often gets the call for fishing
from piers and bridges. Surf tackle can be useful at times, although
surf Snook are usually close to the beach, in easy range of casting
gear. Fly fishermen take their Snook on large streamers and poppers, for
the most part, while hard-lure casters rely heavily on mirror plugs,
bucktail and plastic jigs, jerk plugs, spoons and topwater lugs. Any
small fish makes good live bait, as do live shrimp and crabs. Schooling
baitfish, such as Pilchards, work wonders as both live chum and bait.
Large dead baits fished on bottom take some very big Snook; best are
Mullet heads and Ladyfish heads or halves.
Casting; Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.