Snook are a fish species that are exciting to catch, but many anglers ask the same question: “Are snook good to eat?”
The answer is a resounding “yes!”
In this article, we’ll explore these unique fish in more detail and discuss the different ways you can prepare, cook and eat snook.
What are Snook?
Snook are a species of fish that belong to the family Centropomidae. In addition to their beautiful silver coloring, they are known to be very fun to catch since these fish are built for speed and power and a big snook is capable of putting up a serious fight.
They are mostly found along the coast of North and South America along the Atlantic and Pacific shores in warm, temperate regions. Snook are very prominent in Florida waters and it’s not hard to find a fishing guide in and around the south Florida coastal waters who take people snook fishing many days out of the year.
You can catch them around bridges, grassy flats and oyster beds by fishing with bucktail jigs, or live bait such as shrimp and other common natural baits you might use for catching any other type of game fish in these areas.
Can You Eat Snook?
Yes! Snook are one of the more sought-after species that anglers like to eat after they catch. You can cook snook using a variety of different methods that might include using a cast iron skillet or grilled fillets which allow the seasoning and other flavor to cook into the meat sufficiently.
Is It Safe to Eat Snook?
Snook are safe to eat as long as you take the proper precautions that you should always adhere to when catching and consuming most marine fish you find in fish markets or grocery stores. They don’t have a very high mercury level and you can eat them quite often if you choose to.
You can also eat snook raw if you want but it’s well-known that these fish have an excellent flavor when fully cooked.
What Does Snook Taste Like?
Snook fishing is mostly popular because of the outstanding taste that these fish have when compared to most seafood. They are often described as having a flavor that’s similar to mahi mahi or grouper. They are a white meat and they are usually compared to swordfish and trout.
These fish obviously will have a much more desirable taste when eaten fresh after they have been caught instead of freezing them or storing them in a refrigerated space for a period of time.
The common snook has a very clean diet of mostly smaller fish and crustaceans, which are the reason why they are such a good fish to eat. The meat has a medium firmness compared to most other species and it’s often customary for anglers to remove the skin before cooking.
If the skin is not removed before cooking, the snook might have what’s described as an unpleasant soapy taste. In fact, many times the snook is often referred to as a soap fish due to this distinct soapy taste.
Can You Snook It Raw?
It’s possible to eat snook raw in small portions, although it is usually considered to be less desirable than other raw game fish species. Some anglers like to create sushi using raw snook, but it’s generally accepted that their meat tastes much better when the fillets are cooked without the skin.
Can You Freeze Snook?
Snook is a species of fish that are best eaten fresh, but you can freeze them if you need to. If you must freeze them, be sure to remove the skin first and also add seasoning and marinate as desired before storing them in the freezer.
Best Snook Recipes
There are numerous ways you can cook and prepare a snook, but some of the best recipes usually involve fried snook with citrus fruits. Many people prefer baking snook, which involves adding a bit of olive oil to a small dish and placing the meat inside before adding salt and pepper as desired.
This site offers 5 excellent recipes for preparing snook with each one being easy enough for the average angler to follow.
Here’s a video on how to cook snook to perfection using a very simple method.
What Does a Snook Look Like?
Snook have a very distinct appearance that includes a shiny silver skin and scales, along with yellow-colored fins and tails. It is the facial or mouth structure that is most different or noticeable among the other species of Florida fish that are found along the coast.
The snook have a very large jaw and mouth that is somewhat similar to that of a largemouth bass. This protruding lower jaw structure is similar to other trout-like species and is a distinct characteristic of the snook.
These fish are also known for having razor sharp gill plates, which they sometimes use to cut through fishing line and free themselves when caught, instead of trying to free the hook itself.
How Big Are They?
The snook is not a small fish species, by any means. In areas where they have the right diet and conditions, they are known to grow to more than 40 pounds and might measure up to 48 inches. According to the IGFA, the world record for a snook caught on a rod and reel is just a few ounces shy of 60 pounds.
The large fish among the snook population will undoubtedly put up a serious fight when on the end of a hook, for those that are willing to catch them.
Where Are They Found?
Snook are most commonly found in areas of the Atlantic Ocean where the water temperatures remain above what most would consider to be ‘warm’ throughout the entire year. This means that snook are mostly found around the shore of the Caribbean Islands, as well as the northern South American shoreline.
Southern Florida is one of the most popular locations in the world for snook fishing, although it’s not legal to keep them. The snook is technically a protected species, which means they are prohibited from entering fish markets in America and some other countries.
Why Are They So Popular?
There are multiple reasons why the snook is such a popular fish. Many anglers like to target them simply because they are fun to catch. It’s also true that snook are targeted because of their excellent taste and the fact that you can easily catch them using bait such as live shrimp and cut bait.
When Is Snook Season?
Common snook season in the southeastern United States around the Gulf of Mexico usually begins in late summer and runs into the winter. The state of Florida has two snook seasons with the first occurring during the summer from June until August and the second running from September through the remainder of the year.
In Florida, anglers are only allowed to harvest one snook per day and it’s required to have a saltwater license, as well as a snook stamp before you’re allowed to fish for them in the Sunshine State.