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Can You Eat Snook?

snook on ice

Snook are beautiful, silvery fish that live in the coastal waters along the American shoreline. Fishermen love to catch them because of their elusiveness and fighting spirit. Can you eat snook? Of course, you can! They make for a delicious treat, but to taste one, you are going to have to catch it yourself.


Is It Safe to Eat Snook?

Yes! But there is a trick to preparing a snook. They don’t have the nickname “soap fish” for nothing. Always remove the skin first. If snook is cooked with the skin on, it has a distinct soapy taste that is very unpleasant. Snook is considered a delicacy in many of the places where they are caught. On the South African Cape Coast, snook is a traditional dish usually barbecued on the beach and served with a fresh salad.


What Does Snook Taste Like?

Snook, with its firm, white, and solid flesh, is a mild-tasting table fish. It is a very flavorsome and delicious fish due to their diet of crustaceans and smaller fish. Snook tastes at its best when grilled or backed. Snook experts swear that all you need to grill it to perfection is garlic, black pepper, and a touch of olive oil.


Can You Eat It Raw?

You can eat snook raw, but why do you want to? It’s not a good fish for sushi because of its consistency, very mild fishy flavor, and high levels of mercury.  It is great when prepared as ceviche though.

snook ceviche
snook ceviche


Can You Freeze It?

Snook, like most seafood, must be eaten fresh to really savor the flavor. But if you have to you can freeze it to keep it for a special occasion. Remove the skin, add seasoning and a marinade if you want, and then freeze it.


Best Snook Recipes

If you want to cook some Snook, try these delicious recipes:

Pan Fried Snook with Coconut Broth | Video


What Does a Snook Look Like?

Snook is a species of marine fish in the family Centropomidae of the order Perciformes. They are a very light color with shiny silver scales, yellow-colored fins, and a pronounced black line that runs from the gills to the tail. Snook have a protruding lower jaw, no teeth, but razor-sharp gill plates.


school of snook


How Big Are They?

Strong and sleek, they can grow to 48 inches and 45 pounds. According to the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA), the largest snook on record was caught in Florida and weighed in at an astounding 59 pounds, 8 ounces, with a length of 47,6 inches and a girth of 31,3 inches.


Where Are They Found?

They live in the coastal waters of the Pacific and Atlantic on both sides of North and South America. Snook can’t tolerate the cold and prefer tropical waters. They are euryhaline, meaning that they live in both fresh and saltwater, but never far from the sea. Snook can be found in river mouths, reefs, salt marshes, and seagrass meadows.


fisherman holding a snook


Why Are They So Popular?

Snook is an extremely popular and sought-after game fish. Fishermen like to refer to these powerful fighters as “largemouth bass on steroids.” That, their fighting spirit, elusiveness, and the fact that they taste so good all make them a thrilling catch.

When Is Snook Season?

Snook is not for sale in the United States, so if you want to taste it legally, you are going to have to catch one in season. Snook season along the Atlantic Coast opens at the beginning of September and ends in the middle of December. You will need a saltwater fishing license and a snook stamp and are only allowed to catch one snook per day.


If you don’t already know what snook tastes like, get yourself a fishing license and try to hook one yourself. Catching a snook is an exhilarating experience and is a tasty treat if prepared well.


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