Snapper are one of the most popular fish to eat and because of that anglers enjoy catching and harvesting these fish. There are all kinds of regulations put in place to protect the fishery, so make sure you know when the open seasons are before you decide to keep a few fish for the dinner table.
Snapper are found mostly offshore near reefs, wrecks and rock piles. Inshore, you will find mangrove snapper around bridges, along the mangroves and under docks, but these snapper are much smaller on average than what you will find offshore.
Snapper Fishing in the Cape San Blas / Port St Joe, Florida Area
Snapper can be found on the offshore reefs and wrecks, however, it is around 40 to 50 miles out to get to some of the better offshore structures. Some charters will go out that far to target grouper, snapper and other fish species too. For the ones that do make the trip out there, the fishing can be very good and you will have little fishing pressure.
Take a look below to learn more about the different types of snapper.
Blackfin snapper are found offshore near the continental shelf. They feed mostly on smaller fish.
Juvenile Cubera Snapper
Juvenile Cubera Snapper are found inshore in grass beds and the adult fish are found nearshore and offshore over reefs, wrecks and rock piles. They feed on small fish and crustaceans. Adult Cubera snapper can get very big.
Juvenile Dog Snapper
Juvenile Dog Snapper are found in estuaries and the adult fish are found offshore over reefs and wrecks. These fish feed on small fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. Dog snapper are known as night feeders.
Lane Snapper are mostly found offshore on the reefs and wrecks, although, juvenile fish can be found inshore over the grass flats and shallow reefs. They feed on crustaceans, small fish and mollusks.
Mahogany Snapper are usually found in clear water nearshore and offshore over the reefs and wrecks. They feed heavily at night and mostly on small fish.
Mangrove Snapper are one of the most popular snapper to catch because large populations of juvenile fish can be caught inshore where most anglers fish. Offshore, you will find bigger mangrove snapper over the reefs and wrecks. Some of the best baits to use for mangrove snappers are live and dead shrimp, mud minnows, small pinfish, small finger mullet and small crabs.
Mutton snapper can be found inshore and offshore over reefs, wrecks and seagrass beds. They feed on small fish, crustaceans, and snails. The picture in our header that is listed above is a mutton snapper.
When most people think of snapper, they think of the red snapper. These fish are found offshore over the reefs, wrecks and rock piles. Anglers target them with live bait and artificial lures such as soft bodied jigs, bucktail jigs and spoons. Red snapper taste excellent, grow to more than 40 pounds and are one of the most popular fish to target when bottom fishing offshore. Red snapper have been overfished in the past, so there are regulations on when you can keep these fish. Make sure to check your state’s fishing regulations before taking one of these fish home to the dinner table.
Silk Snapper are mostly found in deep waters offshore over reefs and wrecks. They feed on small fish and crustaceans.
Schoolmaster Snapper can grow as big as 8 pounds, although, most fish that are caught by anglers will be much smaller. Juvenile fish can be found inshore on the grass flats. Adult fish are found nearshore and offshore over the reefs and wrecks. They feed on small fish and crustaceans.
Vermilion Snapper look similar to the red snapper. You can find vermilion snapper suspending over the reefs and wrecks in deep water offshore. Most of these fish will be smaller, maybe in the 2 to 3 pound range. They grow slowly and they feed on small fish, mollusks and small crustaceans.
Yellowtail Snapper are fairly small. They rarely reach weights above 5 pounds. You can find the juvenile fish inshore over grass beds and rock piles. You will find the adult yellowtail snapper around the reefs, wrecks and rock piles nearshore and offshore. Use small baits such as cut bait, shrimp and squid.