Monday, December 6, 2010

Mangrove (Grey) Snapper Fishing Tips

Tips for Catching Grey or Mangrove Snapper

By , Guide

Mangrove Snapper

Great eating and hard fighting mangrove snapper
Photo by Ron Brooks
Here are some mangrove snapper fishing tips. Mangrove snapper are found from New England down throughout the Caribbean to South America. They are a favorite among anglers for their fighting ability and for their excellent meat. They can be found from inshore estuaries to deep water reefs, and fishing for them will vary accordingly.

Inshore Tips

Mangrove 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.

    Fishing Locations

  • 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.
These snapper , like all of them identify with structure. That structure attracts marine growth which in turn attracts the baitfish and shellfish that snapper feed upon.

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