SNOOK / Centropomus undecimalis (Bloch, 1792); CENTROPOMIDAE FAMILY ; also called saltwater pike

Occurs in the western tropical Atlantic from The Gulf of Mexico, Florida to Brazil in wart coastal waters, and the eastem tropical Pacific from Baja, California, Mexico to Peru. This coastal species is found inshore under bridges and docks as well as in lagoons, canals, streams, and estuaries having salt or brackish water, and occasionally, far inland in fresh water.

The snook is a very distinctive fish, and it would he difficult to confuse it with any other. The lower jaw protrudes and a highly prominent black late" line runs from the top of the gill cover along the sides and all the way through the tail. The first dorsal fm has 8 spines. The second dorsal fin has one spine and 10 rays. The anal fin has 3 .spines and 6 rays. The gill covers have sharp serrated edges. Centmpomus undecimalis is generally distinguished from other species of snook in having only 7 10 gill rakers on the first arch, not including rudiments, and 67 78 scales along the lateral line. Also, the longest anal fin spine does not mach to the base of the tail.

One of the axioms relating to fish species is that the colors will likely be variable depending on season, habitat, and/or any number of other conditions. The snuck is no exception. The back of the %nook may be brown, brown gold, bluish green, olive green, dark gray, greenish silver, or black, depending largely on the areas the fish inhabits. The flanks and belly are silvery.

The snook's diet consists mainly of fish and crustaceans. Fishing methods include trolling or casting artificial lures or still fishing with live baits like pinfish, mullet, shrimp, crabs, or other small fish. Best fishing is said to be on the changing tide, especially high ebb tide in mangroves and river mouths, and night fishing from bridges and in ocean inlets.

An excellent table fish with delicate, white, flaky meat, the snook is a member of the Centropomidae family, which also includes the 200lb (90.72 kg) Nile perch (fates niloticus). The snook usually matures by the third year and has a life span of at least seven years. It is very sensitive to temperature and cannot survive in cold waters below about 60°P (15°C).