Sometimes the most targeted species on the pier, the Mangrove snapper offers excellent abundance and table fare for many anglers in the southeast. Even when abundant however, they may not be the easiest fish to catch. That is why we’ve developed this list of the Top 10 tips to remember when targeting this fish.
Ten things to remember when Mangrove snapper fishing:
1. Know where the fish are.
Mangrove snapper are structure-oriented fish. Find the structure, and chances are fish will be present. Fish near bridges, piers, mangroves and drop-offs on the sea floor.
2. Fish the changing tides.
3. Summertime is snapper season.
4. Sardines always work.
Sardines, live or frozen, seem to work just about any time. Remember that as snapper grow, their diet switches to primarily fish, so using a sardine will get usually get bigger fish than shrimp will.
5. Use fresh shrimp.
Let’s face it, when you need it the most, sometimes the live bait just isn’t there. Stop by the bait shop on your way out and pick up some live shrimp – they’re cheap, almost always available, and work much better than frozen shrimp. If you just want to bring some frozen shrimp as backup, make sure it is the freshest quality possible.
6. Switch it up with a crab.
That’s right, often overlooked as snapper bait, crabs (especially fiddler crabs) make up a fair portion of a Mangrove snapper’s diet. When the sardines and shrimp aren’t getting the bites, diversify with a crab.
7. Go nocturnal.
8. Use a sensitive, fast-action rod.
9. Keep your rod in hand.
10. Use clear, minimal tackle.
Snapper have excellent eyesight. Use fluorocarbon line if possible, but if nothing else at least as a 20-pound leader. If you’re using monofilament or especially if using braid, make sure the leader is long – up to four feet if they fish are being really skittish. You also want to minimize the size of sinker for the same reason.
Fortunately, these fish are quite easy to find, but it’s the catching part that makes it a challenge. Remembering these Top 10 tricks will almost guarantee you go home with a few snappers on your next outing.