Scientific name: Thyrsites atun
Other/Common names: Cape Snoek, Barracouta (in New Zealand and Australia)
Distribution: Found in temperate waters from the West Coast to the Eastern Cape. It's also prevalent off the coast of Australia, South America, New Zealand and other islands in the Southern hemisphere.
One of the Cape's most popular exports, these large-schooling predators are highly nomadic and often move around unpredictably. This, coupled with its fast growth, makes it a very resilient species, and its seasonal movement – better known as the “snoek runs” – varies considerably.
Growing up to 200cm in size (and weighing up to 6kg), it's also known as Barracouta (which shouldn't be confused with the game fish called Barracuda). Snoek forms schools near the bottom or midwater, and prefers water between 13° and 18°C.
Although it's a treat to buy this fish fresh, Snoek freezes incredibly well and is available all year round.
Snoek can be baked, poached, fried or smoked, but the traditional way to serve it is grilled over the coals with boiled sweet potatoes. Some followers of this regional speciality also insist on brushing apricot jam on the fish before grilling it.