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How Big Do Snook Get? (Average and Record Sizes)

How Big Do Snook Get? (Average and Record Sizes)

Whether it’s along the Atlantic or Pacific coastline or the Gulf of Mexico, the snook is a prized and popular game fish. 

Being a predatory saltwater species, they can reach an impressive size, but just how big do snook actually get?

While the average size of snook is about 20 to 30 inches and 2 to 10 pounds, they can reach a maximum length of 50 to 55 inches and a maximum weight of 55 to 60 pounds. The biggest snook ever caught is a fish of 59lb 8oz. 

Keep reading this article to get more interesting facts about the length, weight, and age of snook!

What Is the Biggest Type of Snook?

Before we proceed, I wanted to specify what type of snook we will discuss in this article. After all, there are a dozen different snook species out there.

Most snook types are fairly small: tarpon snook, fat snook, blackfin snook, swordspine snook, and others. 

But there are two noticeable exceptions: the common snook (Centropomus undecimalis) and the Pacific black snook (Centropomus nigrescens). 

Among all the wider snook family members, the common and black snook are regular giants!

What Is the Maximum Size of Snook?

a fisherman fishing for big snook in southern Florida
Courtesy of Mitch Carroll

If you’re a Floridian, you might know it as a robalo or linesider. But no matter what you want to call the common snook, this awesome game fish is a big and fierce predator that’s both very popular and makes excellent table fare.

The same can be said about the common snook’s closest relative, the Pacific black snook.

It, too, is a behemoth among the different snook species, and as popular as the common snook is around Florida, as popular is the black snook along the southwestern coast of North and Central America.

Both snook types can reach a maximum length of about 50 to 55 inches and a maximum weight of 55 to 60 pounds. Common snook max out at around 55 pounds, and black snook at around 60 pounds.

However, fish of 50 or more pounds (of both types) are rare and almost never caught.

And in the waters around Florida, you can consider yourself a fortunate and skilled angler if you manage to catch a 35+ pounder!

How Big is the Average Snook?

a female angler from Florida fishing for common snook
Courtesy of Jessica Honovic

This is a difficult question, as the answer can vary quite a lot, depending on your fishing location.

Based on all the reports of common and black snook that I’ve seen over the years, the average snook has a length of 20 to 30 inches and a weight of about 2 to 10 pounds.

But again, this is a very broad average! Different populations might have significantly smaller or higher average sizes, especially since snook can be very slim or fat fish.

And so, in some areas, the average snook might have a size of around 20 inches and 2 to 3 pounds, while other regions can hold snook with an average size of 30 inches and 8 to 12 pounds.

What Is the Biggest Common Snook Ever Caught?

The biggest common snook ever caught by a sport angler is a real giant for this species!

It weighed an incredible 53lb 10oz and was caught by angler Gilbert Ponzi off Parismina in Costa Rica. 

The fact that this record snook was caught in 1978 and has yet to be beaten shows you just how rare 50-pound common snook really are!

What Is the Biggest Pacific Black Snook Ever Caught?

The current All-Tackle world record Pacific black snook weighs slightly more than its Atlantic cousin, the common snook.

It was caught by captain Ward Michaels in 2014 and weighed in at an impressive 59lb 8oz, making it the largest snook ever caught.

Interestingly, this record fish was also caught off the coast of Costa Rica, just on the Pacific West coast of the country. 

What Is the Biggest Snook Ever Caught in Florida?

As mentioned before, the snook is a prized game fish in the state of Florida, and for comparative purposes, I thought it would be interesting also to include the Florida state record snook. 

Now, Florida snook can’t really compete with the giants down in South America, but the waters of the Sunshine State can still produce plenty of big snook!

The current Florida state record snook was caught in 1984 in Fort Myers. This fish was caught by angler Robert De Comso and weighed 44lb 3oz.

Fish between 20 and 30 pounds are relatively common in the waters surrounding Florida, but snook beyond the 40-pound mark are pretty rare, making this a fairly special catch!

How Big is a Trophy Snook?

a happy angler holding a trophy-sized snook
Courtesy of Johnny Torres

This is a really tough question and a much-debated one at that! Once again, the answer depends on where you fish and who you ask.

In some areas, a trophy snook is a fish of 30 inches or 10 pounds, while anglers in other regions might consider a snook of 35 inches or 20 or more pounds to be a trophy fish.

I’ve even heard that some anglers say a trophy snook starts at 40 inches.

However, given that most snook have a maximum length of 40 to 50 inches, a 40 incher seems a little too big, wouldn’t you say?

As always, when it comes to trophy sizes, I think the answer is highly subjective!

If you’ve never caught a 10-pounder and then one day you catch a snook that weighs more than 10 pounds, you may want to call that catch a trophy, even though there might be bigger snook swimming around out there! Why not, right?

How Fast Do Snook Grow?

Snook have a fairly moderate growth rate. During their first 7 years, they grow approximately 4 to 5 inches annually.

Once they reach the age of 7, or roughly 28 to 35 inches, their growth rate slows down to about 1 to 2 inches per year. 

That means that a 10-year-old snook has an approximate length of 38 to 41 inches, and a 15-year-old snook has a length of about 43 to 51 inches. 

Of course, their average growth rate will depend on various factors, including: 

  • water temperature
  • amount of food
  • competition by other predators
  • water quality
  • population size
  • population genetics
  • fishing pressure

How Old Do Snook Get?

two anglers bobber fishing for big common snook
Courtesy of Jake Frederick

Snook reach sexual maturity at age 2 to 4 and have an average lifespan of about 5 to 10 years.

The oldest recorded females (in Florida) had an age of 15 years (on the Gulf Coast) and 18 years (on the Atlantic Coast).

The oldest recorded male snook had an age of 12 years (on the Gulf Coast) and 15 years (on the Atlantic Coast), although researchers believe that both common and black snook can reach an age of 20, perhaps even 30 years. 

DID YOU KNOW: Common snook are protandric hermaphrodites! All snook are born male, but once they reach a length of about 20 inches, they can turn into females. 

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Featured image courtesy of Aiden Herzog