Fish Facts—Snook

This article is a list of facts about snook.

  • There are five different species of snook that inhabit Florida waters: common snook, small-scale fat snook, large-scale fat snook, swordspine snook, and tarpon snook.

  • The most abundant of the five species, the common snook, was once designated as a species of special concern in Florida. Among other causes, good management and conservation measures have led to removal of this designation. The common snook will be the focus for the rest of this list.

  • Snook are also known as robalo, linesiders, and sergeant fish. In the past they were known as "soapfish" when some sections of the "soapy" tasting skin were left on the fillets due to poor cleaning practices.

  • Snook can tolerate a wide range of salinity and may be found in fresh water. However, they are extremely sensitive to temperature and a strong, fast moving cold front through an area containing snook may claim many lives due to the rapid drop in water temperature.

  • Long term tagging research has been carried out over the past several years and has proven to be a valuable tool in helping to understand the life history of snook.

  • Snook are protandric hermaphrodites and change sex from male to female. The actual cause of the change is not known, but current research may provide an answer.

  • Snook are known as "ambush feeders" meaning that they'll surprise attack their prey as it swims or moves into range. This occurs especially at the mouths of inlets where currents play a role while the snook waits in hiding behind bridge pilings, rocks, or other submerged structures.

  • Besides preying on small fish, snook also feed on shrimp, crabs, and mollusks.

  • Snook are very popular with recreational anglers due to their strong fighting spirit and mild, delicate flavor.


Conventional Tackle

44 lb, 3 oz, Ft. Myers:
Robert De Cosmo, 4/25/1984

Fly Fishing Tackle

30 lb, 4 oz, Chokoloskee:
Rex Garrett, 4/23/1993


  • snook permit required when saltwater license is required
  • illegal to buy or sell snook

For saltwater fishing regulations, please visit the Florida Administrative Code (FAC) Web site, Chapter 68-FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION located at:

Each year in Florida, snook are carefully managed because of the high fishing pressure they receive from recreational anglers. For an inside look at the numbers, practices, and other interesting information have a look at Ronald G. Taylor's Management of Common Snook in Florida and Catch and Release Fishing, articles, as well as Robert G. Muller and Michael D. Murphy's most current assessment of the snook population, located on this Web site.

For some great tips on snook fishing, have a look at Taylor's Sketch of the Common Snook in Florida located on this Web site.

FWC Facts:
Like a message in a bottle, “Please Release” on an external tag tells anglers that researchers are tracking a fish implanted with an acoustic tag.

Learn More at AskFWC