Common snook have a slender body and a distinct lateral line. The dorsal fins are high and divided and the anal spines are relatively short. The common snook has a sloping forehead with a large mouth and a protruding lower jaw.
The coloration of the common snook is golden yellow with a distinct black lateral line and pale yellow pelvic fins.
The common snook lacks teeth on the maxillae. There is a band of fine teeth located on the premaxillae and the dentaries. The palatine bone has a narrow band of teeth on it and the ectopterygoid bone located behind the palate may or may not have a tooth patch associated with it.
Common snook on the Atlantic coast of Florida commonly grow to larger sizes than common snook on the gulf coast of Florida. The largest observed sizes for females on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are 43.5 inches and 40.6 inches (110.5 and 103.2 cm) respectively.
The world record for a common snook caught on hook and line is a 53-pound 10-ounce (24.28 kg) in Parismina Ranch, Costa Rica.