Tarpon Snook The tarpon snook is a member of the snook family. It has a moderately deep body, a large head, and a largemouth. There are between 61 and 72 scales in the row above the lateral line. Tarpon snooks are marine species that enter inland marshes and the shorelines of vegetated rivers, creeks, canals, and lakes.
The tarpon snook is also referred to as the large mouth snook. Other common names for this fish include silver king, Atlantic tarpon, and bonefish. Its scientific name is "Centropomus undecimalis"; Centro - having to do with a central point; poma - gill cover; and undecimalis - eleven.
Tarpon snook is found from southern New England to Brazil and northern Argentina. They can reach a length of nearly 7 feet (213 centimeters) and weigh as much as 150 pounds (68 kilograms). In the United States, tarpon snook is found as far north as Massachusetts in the Atlantic Ocean and west to Texas, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tarpon snook is simply white with gray or silver sides. Their bellies are either red or yellowish with black spots that fade as they reach the tail. The body has 13-16 dark cross bands made of four elongated spots on the posterior half of the body. Tarpon snook has a large mouth with thin lips and dark stripes under their eyes.
Tarpon snooks are carnivorous, feeding on crabs, shrimp, mollusks, young sea trout, and other fishes including smaller tarpon snooks. They feed in the morning and evening hours while hiding in aquatic plants, under logs or rocks, and in holes, they have made. They are primarily nocturnal hunters spending the day resting.
The tarpon snook is considered a game fish. It is fished for food and sport around docks, mangroves, rocks, piers, and along the shorelines of vegetated rivers, canals, lakes, and bayous. Its flesh is not highly appreciated so it is typically used as cut bait for sharks and amberjack.
Tarpon snooks are a group of seven species that have been described in the last three decades from various rivers in Cuba. They belong to the family Centropomidae which also has two other species of tarpon. The tarpon snook is the largest member of this family.