Inshore TipsMangrove snapper are schooling fish. They tend to stay grouped and move as a unit when they decide to move. You seldom find a lone mangrove snapper, so if you catch one, there are surely more to be had.
- Medium light spinning tackle
- 10 to 15 pound monofilament line
- Fluorocarbon leader
Some prefer no leader at all so as not to spook the fish. Any part of the terminal tackle that can be seen will lessen your chances of a strike. These are smart fish.
- 5/0 standard hook or 7/0 circle hook
- Weights as necessary
Use only enough weight to get your bait to the fish. Free line your bait with no weight if you can.
- Live bait – shrimp, pinfish, mud minnows, small crabs
Live bait needs to be alive. A smaller hook that is harder to see will get you more strikes. Snapper are wary, and big hooks tend to make them shy.
- Dead bait – cut mullet, other cut fresh fish
These fish are particular. The cut bait needs to be fresh and clean. Sloppy baits will not be eaten. Make sure the cuts are clean and straight, forming a nice chunk of bait.
- Artificial bait – red and white bucktail jig, red and white nylon jig
Tip these jigs with a fresh cut strip of mullet or other fish. The strip needs to be no longer than the jig. Work the jig in an up and down motion as you retrieve it back to the boat or shore.
- Mangrove lined banks
This could be around an island, a shoreline, or a canal. The roots of the mangrove trees are a perfect estuary for these snapper. They are so common there that the ‘grey’ name is usually changed to ‘mangrove’. Look to cast your bait as close to the mangroves as possible. Look for tidal current cuts around the mangroves where the water will be deeper.
- Rock Jetties
Any rocky structure, like a jetty, holds baitfish and small crustaceans. Snapper will school on these structures. Once again you need to fish close to the structure.
- Docks and Pilings
Snapper will also congregate around pilings and docks, that includes bridge pilings. Barnacles and other growth attract baitfish and small crustaceans, and they in turn attract the snapper.
- Oyster Bars
In small estuary creeks where deep holes occur close to oyster bars, snapper will be found.
Offshore TipsThere is no casting for mangroves offshore – you will be strictly bottom fishing. The trick for being successful here is to have a clean “junk free” terminal tackle set up. By junk free, I mean no snap swivels, no wire leaders, and as light a line and weight as possible.
- Medium weight bottom fishing rig
- A Peen 4/0 or maybe smaller for a reel.
- A nice stiff bottom rod.
- 30 to 50 pound test monofilament line
- Fluorocarbon leaders
- Only enough weight to get you to the bottom – as dictated by the current.
- Live Bait
Offshore mangrove snapper will be larger than their inshore counterparts. Live bait is always the preferred method, but sometimes it can be hard to find
- Live cigar minnows
- Live Spanish sardines
- Live pinfish
- Dead Bait
Any of the live baits mentioned will work as dead bait as long as it is fresh. Some frozen baits are so old that they fall apart as soon as they begin to thaw. Your snapper total will fall apart as well. Good cut chunks of pinfish – maybe one you caught that is too big to use live – sometimes are the best bait going.
Very few mangrove snapper are caught on artificials. However, they can be caught on them. Try deep jigging a red and white jig with a clean piece of strip bait on it.