Mangrove Snapper on Slack Tide | William Toney
The full moon is a good bite from one of my favorite fish to catch, the mangrove snapper. The Big Bends inshore mangrove snapper don't grow as big as our offshore snapper but there are days I've been surprised on light tackle. Mangrove snapper fishing can turn into a feeding frenzy so intense that you can get one on every cast and just as soon as it happens it can shut down. Rockpiles, wrecks, markers and springs are the best places to fish for them and can be caught from three feet of water out to 10.
Rocky points on high tides with jumping mullet will have redfish but will also have some keeper snappers. To see if any are there toss a live shrimp on a 2/0 Owner SSW bait hook and look for them close to the boat. Most of the time you can watch them eat the bait before you set the hook. The fish you catch will not be monsters but on light tackle a 12 to 14 inch mango will be a fun fight.
Moving tide is good but I've found that when the high tide comes to a stand ( slack ) the bite is at its best. The water is generally clear so you can see the fish and I use live shrimp for bait. Pinch the tail of the shrimp and thread a 1/8 oz. chartreuse jighead into the tail and push the point out of the bottom as the keeper part of the jighead penetrates the tail of the shrimp. Mangroves respond to chumming so use the shrimp tails to chum. If there is to much chum in the water It draws in undesirable species like puffer fish and catfish, so just a little is best.
Two of my favorite ways to eat mangrove snapper is to use pecan flour and fry the fillets. Another great cooking method is to scale, gut and head the fish. Then make two to three cuts on it's side and marinate them in soy sauce for about 15 minutes. After that fry them in hot oil. No breading is needed. Peel the meat off and use a peanut ginger sauce to dip it in. High incoming tide will be in the afternoon this weekend.
Watch some of my inshore mangrove snapper fishing videos.
Capt. William Toney
Homosassa Inshore Fishing