The Red Snapper, or Lutjanus Campechanus, is an exceptionally delicious fish inhabiting the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the southeast Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the United States. They can be found as far north as Massachusetts and are extremely common in Florida. These beautiful fish are a prized food source and they are targeted commercially and recreationally to supply the high demand for them. In the continental United States, Red Snapper is the most commonly caught snapper of them all and there are many snapper varieties in these waters.
An adult Red Snapper can live for over fifty years and weigh as much as 50lbs. Similar in body shape to other snappers such as the lane snapper, mangrove snapper, mutton snapper and dog snapper, they have a sloped profile with medium to large scales. Their dorsal fin is spiny and they have a laterally compressed body. There are ten dorsal spines present, fourteen soft dorsal rays, three anal spines and between eight and nine anal soft rays. Youngsters have a dark spot on their sides which fades as they mature. These fantastic fish are light red in color but the pigmentation is more intense on their back. Short, sharp, needle-like teeth are evident but the prominent upper canine teeth found in mutton snappers, dog snappers and mangrove snappers is absent in the Red Snapper.
Rocky bottoms, ledges, artificial reefs, ridges, wrecks and offshore oil rigs are ideal places to find Red Snapper. These fish prefer waters ranging in depth from 30ft to 200ft but have been caught occasionally as deep as 300ft. As with other snapper species, Red Snapper of similar size form large schools around wrecks and reefs and they prefer to stay relatively close to the ocean floor. As these fish grow and mature, their cover and dietary requirements change. Hatchlings spread themselves over big areas of open habitat before moving to low-relief places such as oyster beds. When they reach a year old, they move to intermediate-relief habitats and replace the previous year’s fish (who move on to high-relief reefs where there is more room for individuals). In artificial reefs, small fish occupy the upper section of the water column while the larger adults inhabit the deeper areas – and they will not share this territory with the smaller fish. The really big Red Snappers will spread out in open areas and reefs.
An incredibly popular game fish, Red Snapper are tough fighters. They will put all their energy into breaking your line off in the rocks where they live. Snapper fishing in Florida attracts thousands of fishing enthusiasts every year, and many of them are after a tasty Red Snapper dinner at the end of the day. Here is some information to help you catch a Red Snapper in Florida:
Tackle for Red Snapper
These fish pull hard when they bite in their attempt to get back to safety in the rocks. You want to keep them away from there or you will lose your fish and everything on your line. Light tackle is a great deal of fun, but you should rather use heavy tackle for Red Snappers or risk leaving it at the bottom of the sea. A strong rod and reel of superb quality will make your life a great deal easier, such as an Accurate BX2 30 or Accurate BX2 600N reel.
Bait for Red Snapper
Red Snappers can be caught on bait and lures. Live bait is by far the best bait to use and it definitely gives better results. Skipjacks and bonito work really well, as do similar types of fish.
Techniques for Red Snapper
- Lures such as poppers, metal jigs, trolled plugs, soft plastics and jerkbaits can all be effective. When fish are in shallow reefs, you can use poppers. Little is more thrilling than seeing a fish come out from the depths and annihilate your popper splashing around on the surface. Metal jigs work great when the fish are in deeper water. Bouncing it along the bottom is a great technique and you can do the same with diamond jigs too.
- Baits will help you to catch the big individuals. A large skipjack is perfect because they will immediately swim to the bottom after you hook them. This is where the big Red Snappers are and it will not be long before you get a solid bite. Bait fish that behave in this manner attract Red Snappers with ease but you can use whatever fish are in the area for bait. Avoid wire leaders because they do not bite on them. A heavy fluorocarbon leader minimizes visibility, which is the trick with Red Snapper, and is very useful when your catch pulls and attempts to break your line on sharp rocks.
Call today to book your Red Snapper Fishing Charter in Florida and enjoy the thrill.