The return of large Mangrove snapper to the estuaries in the fall is often awaited for. Although the truly large and mature snappers stay offshore throughout the rest of their lifetime, some fairly large ones do return to the estuaries for a few years before calling the deep reefs their home. After their return, the fish can be found just about anywhere there is deep water and structure – this includes the usual bridges and piers, as well as mangroves and deep holes inshore.
Of course, many fish will stick around their spawning sites if the food is-a-plenty, so don’t overlook the near-shore reefs, especially artificial reefs. If fishing bridges, fish your bait or lure in the same manner as the moving tide, so the fish will see your bait. Jigs and soft baits are very effective this time of year, as the fish are still active before the water cools too much, yet are back in the murkier waters of the estuaries.
Catching Mangrove Snapper in the Mangroves
Many fish return to the mangroves in the fall, especially if deeper waters are nearby. Use live bait, either free-lined or minimal weight, under the trees for most action. Artificial jigs and soft baits can be used here quite effectively, but the “snag-ability” index is high with all of the root structures and debris around the trees.
Catching Mangrove Snapper in the Channel Edges
The channel edges and other drop-offs provide an excellent location for the fish to hide and forage on passing prey. Using artificial lures is very effective in these drop-off locations.
An Overview of Catching Mangrove Snapper in the Fall.
In the fall, the Mangrove snapper have returned to their estuaries and lagoons. Of course, some fish stay at the offshore or near-shore reefs where they spawned if the food is sustainable, and can be found there as well. Artificial lures still work well as the waters are warm enough for active strikes, but natural bait always takes precedence when it comes to the keen-eyed snapper.