How to Catch Mangrove Snapper
Tackle & Best Bait for Mangrove Snapper
|Top 10 Tips||Tackle for Mangrove Snapper|
|Where to Catch||Live Baits|
Mangrove snapper aka Gray snapper, is one of the finest-tasting fish in the near-shore and estuarine waters, and is easy to catch if you know how. Here’s the 101 on when, where, and how to catch these tasty fish on any occasion. In Florida, those occasions are year-round because as of this writing, the Mangrove snapper has no ‘closed season.’
For both Atlantic and Gulf waters, the minimum size for keepers is 10” and the Daily Limit is 5 fish per harvester.
Mangrove snapper can be found year-round in Florida. Fishing for mangrove snapper in the summer is often thought of as “snapper season,” however there is some variation across the fish’s range.
Photo by Capt Jim Klopfer
Mangrove snapper aggregate at near-shore and offshore reefs for spawning during the summer months from June through September, and this is where you’ll find the biggest fish. During the spawn, some fish will stay in the estuaries and lagoons that have deep salty channels. All other times of the year, the “keeper fish” will be in the deeper portions of the estuaries near structures such as bridges, piers, docks, mangroves, and changes in the bottom topography such as channel edges.
When it comes to snapper, you have to be fast. A good setup for the job would be a fast action rod that will allow you to feel the bite and quickly set the hook, combined with a medium spinning or bait-casting reel. Find out the perfect rod and reel setups to catch more mangrove snapper.
As for the terminal gear, you must always remember that these fish have incredible eyesight. You want to be as minimalist as possible, only using the weight needed to get to the bottom. You will also want to use a fluorocarbon leader due to its near-invisibility in the water. More on line and leaders.
Spinning Tackle for Mangrove Snapper
Baitcasting Tackle for Mangrove Snapper
Spinning tackle is the most common gear used for Mangrove snapper, especially inshore, as these fish are rarely over three pounds in the estuaries. Use a medium spinning reel with anywhere from 8-to-20 pound test line depending on the amount of weight needed to get your bait or lure to the bottom.
Although Mangrove snapper inshore may not be over three pounds, offshore is a whole different story. Offshore, fish up to 10 pounds are not uncommon on the reefs and artificial structures, so using a bait-casting reel to have greater leverage over the fish running you under the structures is a good way to go for the big ones.
When many anglers think of Mangrove snapper, shrimp come to mind. As Mangrove snapper grow however, their diet switches from primarily shrimp to a diet composed mostly of fish. They will of course consume shrimp at will, especially if right in front of them. In general though, using fish such as sardines and small mullet will catch larger fish than shrimp will.
Some of the most effective lures for Mangrove snapper include jigs and soft baits. The lures will often imitate shrimp or fish, and are most effective if fished during a moving current, where the fish are sitting and waiting for their next meal to pass them by. Keep in mind that Mangrove snapper have excellent vision, so when choosing lures select the most life-like ones in terms of their looks and movements in the water.