Mainly an inshore species, snook prefer seagrass beds in depths up to 20 metres. They feed around reefs and wharf pylons and anywhere small baitfish are attracted. They lie amongst the fronds during the day and slowly rise to the surface on evening to feed. They have large swim bladders that allow the fish to rise and fall in the water column so they can ambush small fish gathering at the surface.
Snook are normally caught in Tasmania using lures that resemble small to medium sized baitfish. Deep diving lures trolled during the day will be more successful than surface lures especially if the fisher has some idea of the type of bait fish that are found locally and choose a lure that resembles them. Snook are sometimes caught on bluebait rigged on single or gang hooks then cast around reefs or wharves and slowly retrieved.
Snook have a large mouth and sharp canine teeth so should be handled carefully around the mouth area.
The flesh of snook is white and tasty and some people prefer them prepared as cutlets and baked, rather than taking off fillets or frying steaks. To improve the taste of the fish, it should be killed, cleaned and chilled promptly.
Recipe: Foil Baked Pike with Chilli:
1 tablespoon oil, 2 large fillets of snook, 1 tablespoon oil, 2 cloves garlic, sliced, one chilli, deseeded and sliced, lemon juice, salt and black pepper.
Brush two large pieces of aluminium foil with oil. Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper and place one fillet on the foil per parcel.
Divide the garlic and chilli between the fish add lemon juice and black pepper over each fillet then scrunch up the sides of the foil tightly to form well-sealed parcels.
Place the parcels on a baking tray and bake at 190°C for 15 minutes.