Exerpts from Vic Dunaway’s popular fish identification book “Sport Fish of Florida.”
SNOOK RANGE: 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.
SNOOK DESCRIPTION: The Snook has a most distinctive body shape, featuring a tapered head and snout, underslung 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.
SNOOK SIZE: 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.
There is more information on this and other sport fish in “Sport Fish of Florida.” This handy book features 231 species, all illustrated in full color. Also included for each fish are detailed ranges, habitats, game quality, food quality and record sizes.