Mexican Snook

Mexican Snook, Centropomus poeyi

The Mexican Snook, Centropomus poeyi, whose common Spanish name is robalo prieto, and known locally as robalo, is a species in the Snook or Centropomidae Family, known collectively as robalos in Mexico. Globally, there are twelve species in the genus Centropomus, and all  twelve are found in Mexican waters, six in the Atlantic and six in the Pacific.

The Mexican Snooks are fairly large fish and one of two large Snooks found in the Atlantic. They have oblong elongated compressed bodies. They are silvery fish with a prominent dark lateral line. Their anal and pelvic fins are yellow and their caudal, dorsal, and pectoral fins are transparent with black tinges. They have a concave upper head profile with a pointed shovel-shaped snout and large eyes. Their mouth is large, terminal, and has a protruding lower jaw. Their second anal spine is thick and long but does not reach the caudal fin base; the third dorsal spine is longer than the fourth; and the pelvic fins are inserted behind the pectoral fins. They have 15 to 18 gill rakers. Their scales are small compared to the scales of other Snooks.

The Mexican Snooks are found in bays, estuaries, the lower parts of freshwater streams, and where dry river beds meet the ocean (presumably due to subterranean water flow) at depths up to 60 feet. They reach a maximum length of 96 cm (36 inches) and 8 kg (20 pounds) in weight.

In Mexican waters the Mexican Snook are found in the Gulf of Mexico along the coast of the mainland from Tampico to Belize.

The Mexican Snook is easily confused with the Common Snook, Centropomus undecimalis (13 to 15 gill rakers).

The Mexican Snooks are targeted by commercial fishermen, with gill nets primarily in Veracruz State, and by recreational anglers.

Mexican Snook, Centropomus poeyi. Commercial fish courtesy of Soriana’s Mercado, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, October 2009. Length: 33 cm (13 inches). Identification courtesy of H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA.