Gulf Coast Mangrove Snapper Fishing with William Toney
One of my favorite fish to catch and eat, mangrove snapper, is in force on the Big Bend inshore waters. Not to say you can't catch bigger ones offshore, but keeper mangrove snapper can be accessed even by the smallest of boats. The near shore rocks are the most productive spots and motoring over and looking into the water will reveal if the mother lode is on it. Most of the time once the vessel is anchored correctly, the snapper will settle down and respond to a few bits of shrimp being tossed in. One thing I do not do is use lots of chum because that will draw in remora's, spot tails, puffers and catfish.
When I get everyone baited up, its lines in the water! Don't stop to take pictures or a water break because when the bite happens it's fast and when it's over it's done at that spot. A good rally can yield a limit in no time and I'm working like a one legged tap dancer to get my clients fish off the hook and baited.
The minimum size is 10" in Florida waters and 5 per angler. I use a live shrimp with the tail pinched off and threaded onto a 1/8th oz. jig head. In the presentation, use a short cast and let the bait match the current and even let it settle on the bottom to get the bite.
If you don't have any "numbers" you can sometimes find them on the channel markers out in the Gulf, rocky points or deep undercuts on the outside keys during high tide. One of my favorite ways to prepare mangrove snapper is to scale, head and gut them. Then score them twice on each side, marinate them in soy for a few minutes. I then hit them with a little Lawry's season salt before I deep fry the whole fish. I don't know the name of the sauce my wife makes but it's similar to what you would dip a spring roll into. Ginger and garlic. Peel the meat from the fish, dip and enjoy.
Capt. William Toney
Click to watch a selection from my mangrove snapper fishing videos