Mangrove Snapper - A Fishing Love Affair

August 30, 2022
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Mangrove snapper are excellent fish for fishing in the western Atlantic, found in various habitats including backcountry brackish waters, freshwater rivers, inshore coastal waters, and offshore waters. As they mature, they become aggressive and prefer hard bottom structure like rock piles, reefs, wrecks, and offshore oil platforms. Mangrove snapper are aggressive and often show up early, but catching enough and moving quickly can lead to a successful fishing trip.

A Love Affair with Mangrove Snapper Fishing

Mangrove snapper are arguably one of the finest fish to catch swimming the inshore waters of the western Atlantic. I have a real love affair with these tasty hooligans. Matched with the proper tackle, mangrove snapper are as quality a fighting fish as any inshore or nearshore species. Plus, you can make a damn good argument that they are the best eats inshore. These outstanding fighters are both brutish and ephemeral. This is what makes so much fun.

Caught in a wide variety of habitats, mangrove snapper can be found in backcountry brackish waters, freshwater rivers, inshore coastal waters and in offshore waters out to about 200 feet. You can trace where a mangrove snapper makes its home to its maturity. The younger the fish, the closer inshore you will find it. As the fish adds size the more aggressive their tendencies become and the more comfortable they are with leaving the protection of inshore waters for the more dangerous offshore waters. With the transition to more inhospitable world offshore, mangrove snapper start to take up residence on hard bottom structure like rock piles, reefs, wrecks, and offshore oil & gas platforms. The further you move offshore, the bigger the snapper get. Beyond that depth, you won't really find fish.

They Do Not Stray From Structure

The one constant with mangrove snapper is their love affair with structure. They make it their refuge, never straying too far from it's coverage. Points, channel edges, bridge pilings, rock piles, hard bottom, reef structure, wrecks and deeper man made structure will hold mangrove snapper. The deeper waters in the Gulf of Mexico are a bit of an anomaly, with all the oil platforms relatively close to shore. It is not common for mangrove snapper to be out in deep water, but the oil platforms provide an incredibly dynamic habit that grovers thrive in. This is where the big snapper live.

Hit and Run

An aggressive fish by nature, mangrove snapper, show up early to your party and then vanish after having their fill of your baits. Their kind of rude, if you think about it. Mangrove snapper are the classic hit and run gamefish. The trick is catching enough of them to fill a small cooler. As soon as you start hauling in other species, it's time to move. Don't wait thinking the action will start again. It won't. Move. You may have to move several times. This is where having a good list of waypoints comes in handy. The more points of structure you know about, the more likely you are to head home with a nice bag of fish.

Catching mangrove snapper can make for frustrating fishing, if you are not used to their proclivities. They are surgical, so be ready. The action will be on and then off like a light switch. Just like that the shows over. The norm is for mangrove snapper to move in aggressively on your presentation. These guys are voracious and cannot resist first crack at your bait presentation. But, something will tip them off very quickly. It could be noise from the boat, a leader that is too visible, an exposed hook or seeing their friends disappear. The bite will come to screeching halt. Preparation is critical.

Sneaky Tactics

When you make the decision to selectively target mangrove snapper, your tactical game better on point. Mangrove snapper are tricky, finicky, leader and hook shy, scared by noise and can leave you scratching you head.

In order to share my love and help fine tune your mangrove snapper fishing experience, I have designed a series of mangrove snapper fishing videos that show you, with exacting details, how to target this pesky fish inshore and offshore. I worked with a couple the best fishing guides in the Gulf coast region. Florida Captain William Toney and Louisiana Captain Josh Howard bring a ton of of fishing knowledge to the series. William is an inshore fishing ace and Josh has spent his life plying the oil platforms for all sorts of gamefish.

The tactical skills these guys share run from chumming mangrove snapper and baiting them with cut fish chunks to using live shrimp on jig heads. You will learn when to use different tactics, why experimentation is important, the viability of different size baits, which leaders to use, types of bait that produce best, ideal tackle, boat positioning and efficient angling techniques. The most valuable part may just be the heaping amount of situational awareness William and Josh so easily transfer to you, in the course of conversation. Both of these fishing guides have spent a good lifetime on the water developing their skills to a very high level.

With the skills shared in our content, you will be armed with every advantage. There should be zero reasons why you cannot go out a bag a limit of mangrove snapper any day the water allows.

Seth Horne In The Spread,
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