Mangrove Snapper - Backcountry Fishing with William Toney

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Instructor: William Toney

In The Spread offers a sport fishing journey through Florida's Nature Coast, featuring dynamic fisheries like mangrove snapper. Capt. William Toney, a fourth-generation guide, shares his techniques for catching mangrove snapper in backcountry creeks and rivers. He demonstrates using live shrimp, artificial lures, soft plastics, and jigs, and teaches expert tactics for targeting fish in coastal rivers. To learn more about mangrove snapper limits in Florida, check with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Inshore fishing for mangrove snapper is a great option during unpredictable weather.
  • Spring-fed creeks and rivers along Florida's Gulf coast offer ideal conditions for mangrove snapper.
  • Capt. William Toney shares his expertise on finding fish, choosing bait, and tackle tips.
  • Safe boating practices are crucial for a successful fishing trip.
As the transition from fall to winter brings unpredictable weather, inshore fishing becomes an attractive alternative to venturing offshore. One of the top choices for inshore fishing enthusiasts is the mangrove snapper, also known as gray snapper. Along Florida's Gulf coast, numerous spring-fed creeks and rivers offer warmer waters that are perfect for these temperature-sensitive fish.

Mangrove Snapper in the Backcountry

Mangrove snapper prefer the nutrient-rich waters found in these inshore areas, which provide shelter and food for small to medium-sized fish. As they grow larger, they move offshore for winter protection. It's important to note that the legal minimum size limit in Florida, as per the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), is 10 inches with a bag limit of 5 per person and an aggregate of 10 total. Many of the fish found in the creeks and rivers range from 10 to 15 inches, making them a delicious catch.

Mangrove snapper are not only among the tastiest fish in Florida's coastal waters and throughout the Gulf of Mexico, but they also offer great fishing action for kids. It's a win-win situation: you get to enjoy delicious fish while keeping your children entertained!

Capt. William Toney Shares Florida Inshore Fishing Expertise

Capt. William Toney is a renowned inshore fishing guide in Florida who excels in teaching his methods. His collection of inshore fishing videos can teach you how to catch various saltwater fish species. In his "In The Spread" fishing video, William delves into the art of catching mangrove snapper in coastal rivers. Here's a breakdown of his expert advice:

  1. Finding Fish: To locate mangrove snapper, look for pinch points or choke points in rivers or moving water. Search for places where rocky structures extend into the river near channels, as channel edges are prime spots. Current is crucial when it comes to finding snapper; the stronger the current, the larger the fish you can expect to find. Keep in mind that tides influence water movement, even in rivers, so stay informed about the tidal conditions.
  2. Choosing Bait: Mangrove snapper aren't particularly picky eaters, but live bait, especially shrimp, is highly effective. William demonstrates how to hook live shrimp through the tail and head without killing them, as well as the jigs he prefers and their benefits. He also shows how to use a split shot with a bait hook and when to switch to artificial lures once the fish start biting.
  3. Tackle Tips: For maximum fun, William recommends using a 7' 6" medium-light rod with a 10 lb mainline and 20 lb leaders. He shares valuable insights on tackle, live bait rigs, and bait options to help you catch more mangrove snapper.
  4. Bait Presentation and Safe Boating: Learn where to cast, how to target bigger snapper, and ensure safe boat positioning. Remember: safe boating is essential for safe fishing.


In The Spread collaborates with top captains, guides, and anglers to offer the best fishing knowledge. The more you know, the more fish you'll catch. Equip yourself with knowledge and fish smarter!

Capt. William Toney

What is the best time of year to fish for mangrove snapper in Florida?

Mangrove snapper can be caught year-round in Florida, but the best time is typically from late spring through early fall when water temperatures are warmer.

What is the legal size limit for mangrove snapper in Florida?

The legal minimum size limit for mangrove snapper in Florida is 10 inches, as per the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

What is the daily bag limit for mangrove snapper in Florida?

The daily bag limit for mangrove snapper in Florida is 5 per person, with an aggregate of 10 total.

What type of bait is best for catching mangrove snapper?

Live bait, especially shrimp, is highly effective for catching mangrove snapper. Artificial lures can also be used once the fish start biting.

What kind of tackle is recommended for mangrove snapper fishing?

A 7' 6" medium-light rod with a 10 lb mainline and 20 lb leaders is recommended for maximum fun while fishing for mangrove snapper.

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Captain William Toney

Captain William Toney, a Florida native, is a fourth-generation fishing guide known for his expertise in Redfish, Sea Trout, Mangrove Snapper, Snook and other fish species. He is a licensed and insured guide, a Homosassa Guide's Association member, and hosts 'In The Spread', an online fishing instruction platform. Toney's expertise in redfish, tides, and bait presentation is unparalleled, and he shares his knowledge on seasonal fish migration patterns and tidal flows. His dedication to passing on his knowledge to younger generations is invaluable.

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