The Best Way to Catch a Red Snapper

June 26, 2020

The red snapper is one of the most sought-after game fish in North American oceans. These large fish frequently come in at more than 10 pounds, and make a great introductory fish for angling in deeper water (100 feet or more).

Interested in angling for red snapper for the first time? Here are a few tips that will help you learn how to catch a red snapper in Sarasota, FL and get the most out of your excursion:

  • Find likely habitats and vary your depth: The presence of structure is more important than the depth where you’re fishing (to a degree). Red snapper will just about always be found near structure, unless they’re on the move from one structure to another or to a spawning site. This includes natural or artificial reefs, shipwrecks, ledges, rocks and oil platforms. When at these sites, fish all depths around the habitat—don’t worry about sticking to a certain depth. While they are technically a deep-dwelling species, they’ll be as close as 30 feet if you find the right structure.
  • Try during the summer: You’re most likely to have success with fishing for red snapper during the summer. This is when they’re in the peak of their spawning season (June and July), which means it’s when they’re most likely to be hungry. In addition, this is when you’ll have the calmest seas, which provides the best conditions for offshore fishing.
  • Consider chumming on top of reefs: Shallow reefs can have red snapper in the right conditions. You might consider chumming with some chunked fish to get them up toward the surface. This can draw them away from the reefs or structures that might cut your line if the fish pull back on it.
  • Use live bait: You’ll have the best results fishing for red snapper when using live bait. While there are a few lures that will work, such as vertical jigs, most of the time the fish will be more interested in live bait. A cigar minnow, for example, is almost always going to be attractive to red snapper schools.
  • Use heavy tackle when currents are strong: If you’re in a part of the ocean with a strong current, which is common for deep-reef sites, you’ll need heavier tackle, because you’ll need some extra help to keep the bait in the right spot. Without heavier tackle, the bait is likely to drift away, which will result in a lack of control and fewer bites.
  • Use fluorocarbon leaders: Red snappers have great vision, which means you should not use wire leaders—they will be able to easily see the metal sticking out of it. A fluorocarbon leader, though, is abrasion-resistant, meaning it will hold up to the snapper’s sharp teeth, and almost invisible when it’s in the water, meaning it’s not likely to attract the snapper’s attention.

For more tips about the best way to catch a red snapper on your fishing charter in Sarasota, FL, contact Charter Boat Shark today with your questions.

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