Catching And Cooking Snook
Considered a trophy fish, Snook are a rare treat and a good eat
Size and weight: Snook can vary a lot, but adult Snook are typically 40” to 42”. Weight can range from 8 to 22 lbs., with healthier ones reaching 30 lbs.
Sometimes known as the Sergeant Fish or Robalo, found in the Gulf Of Mexico down to South America. Snook are considered a trophy fish because it’s not every day that you can catch one. You get bragging rights above 40” – which is exceedingly rare, as the Snook is a slow-growing fish. Snook are fun to catch, but can be dangerous to handle, as they have gill plates as sharp as razor blades! Interestingly, you can put fingers in their mouth – as they have no teeth and no draw strength.
Time of year: Snook are active all year and follow the patterns of the Red Fish.
Location: Snook prefer shallow water. Bigger Snook will be on flats – near a sandy beach. You would not use live bait to catch Snook.
Time Of Tide: Best time of day is the 2-hour window around dawn and dusk, or when tides are moving.
Bait: You can chum for for Snook. Sling greenbacks into the water.
Method: Reel and rod, with light tackle, and chum.
Drinks: White wine, Sweet tea, Session light beer with lemon, Bourbon
Deliciousness: 8.5 out of 10.
Flavor: Big, savory taste that isn’t too fishy. Can be flaky and/or moist.
Strike behind the the jaw plate, cut down backbone. That’s the filet. Remove skin from both sides.
De-gutting: De-gutting is not necessary if you are cutting fillets – simply cut around the fish guts.
De-blooding: Spanish Mackerel, Redfish, Grouper and Sharks are typically de-blooded.
De-veining: Is recommended for larger fish, including Spanish Mackerel, Redfish, and Sharks.
Methods: Snook can be deep fried, grilled, baked or sautéed (blackened).
Dishes: Snook works as an entrée, in tacos, soup or stew; in a salad or as an appetizer (fish cakes or ceviche)
Tradition: Snook is versatile and flavorful enough to work with any cooking tradition.
Snook is great to blacken or sauté. Use garlic salt, garlic powder, and lemon powder. Add vinaigrette and olive oil.
Baking: Snook is delicious when baked on tinfoil with with Vidalia onions.
Grilling: If you want more flaky Snook entrée, grill on low heat. Maybe 10 minutes, both sides. For a heavier texture, use a higher temperature.
Cooking Fish, Generally
Traditions: Plain, Upscale, Southern, Creole, Cajun, Western, Southwestern
Sautéed (blackened): use a high-temperature oil with minimal flavor. Avocado, grapeseed, linseed, sunflower, safflower.
Deep Frying: use similar oil to sautéed, but more of it.
Baking: Method 1: Use tinfoil and leave open. Seasoning is household seasonings. Lemon pepper and garlic. When fish is done, you’d use lemon juice and butter. Don’t add butter before the fish is cooked. Method 2: same but close foil.
Grilling: if you want more flaky entrée, low heat. Maybe 10 minutes, both sides. Heavier texture, use a higher temperature.
Entrée: Many people prefer blackened, filet skin on one side and leave skin on the other.
Fish tacos: Require fileting both sides. Cube, deep fry in a batter.
Fish soup or stew: Reheats well. A common cioppino or Cajun recipe will suffice.
Fish salad. Deep fry to keep together, into a crisp. Cover meat halfway full with oil. Cook in a cast iron skillet. Use a Caesar dressing.
Sides: Sweet potato, baked potato, potato wedges, brown rice, hush puppies
Vegetables: Asparagus, broccoli, salad, sliced tomatoes and avocado, string beans, seasoned collards, okra
Appetizers: Ceviche dip and fish cakes.