Catching Red Snapper

Red Snapper is a popular fish species caught off Florida’s Emerald Coast. These fish weigh at least five pounds on average, though it is not unusual to catch one between 20 and 30 pounds. The IGFA world record red snapper was caught in close proximity to Pensacola and weighed 50 pounds 4 oz. Red Snappers are plentiful in the Gulf. You may be able to catch two of them at once on the right days. Red Snappers are a tough fish and can be enjoyed in great food, especially when prepared by local restaurants. Deep-sea fishing is an exciting way to bond with your friends and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Different types of bait

Red Snapper bait comes in a variety of options. Gave-limited predators can only eat what is in their mouths (this basically proves that big bait catches large fish). For most Red Snappers, dead bait is a good choice. Snook, Grouper, and Tuna are larger Red Snappers and find Sardines and Mullet, Eels and Pilchards difficult to resist. Squid, Pogies, and Cigar Minnows are all readily available and commonly used Red Snapper bait.

Live Pinfish and Tomtate, also known as Tomtate, are good options for larger fish. Ruby Red Lips also work well. Bonita strips are the best bait for Red Snappers, according to many experienced Gulf Coast anglers. Smaller fish will not eat the large pieces of meat if they aren’t cut properly. You can eliminate the irritating pecking of tiny reef fish by using larger strips. If you charter an area boat for the day, it will be the best bait for snappers.

How to Rig Bait for Red Snapper

The way you bait the hook can make a huge difference in how you fish. For trolling, use a live bait rig to pass the hook through the fish’s lips, nose, and eyes. You can also drift the bait through the base of the tail. For frozen baits such as Cigar Minnows and Sardines, the hook should be passed through the eyes, then the back. It might surprise you how quickly the bait softens after it has thawed. If you’re on a charter, your crew can show you how to rig the bait.

Different types of rigs

You can use light ocean tackle in shallow water up to 60 feet, although heavy spinning and bait casting reels are also acceptable. For deeper drops and stronger currents, where many charter boats in the Panhandle area fish, heavier weight rods will be required. You’ll also need strong fishing lines that are up to 80 pounds test. The best sinker weight to hold the bottom is recommended by area fishermen. Larger fish will tend to be a bit higher than the structures and bottom. The smaller fish will move through the feeding area slower, giving them a better chance of biting. The rigs are the most common method of catching Red Snapper. Most experienced anglers agree that there are three options.

  • The Three Way Swivel – This is the most common bottom rig. It works well when fishing wrecks and rocky bottoms. This setup consists of a mainline and a sinker that are tied to three to four inches of a lightweight line (20-test) each. Each gets connected to the eye of the swivel. The hook is attached to the third eye of the swivel’s eye. It should be longer (12-18 inches) and stronger (at minimum 50-pound test). This rig will ensure that you only lose your sinker if the bottom is caught.
  • The Knocker Rig – This rig is popular for hooking smaller snappers. It’s also a great choice for fishing close to wrecks and directly over reefs. This rig is made up of a barrel swivel, egg sinker, and a leader. Attach the main line to the barrel swivel’s eye. Then attach a 5- to a 10-foot leader with a hook to the eye. The leader should be topped with the egg sinker. The egg sinker will slide towards the hook when you cast out. It will take up most of the line slack and stop the fish from diving into a structure once it is hooked.
  • The Inline Snapper Rig – When the action is slow, the In-Line Snapper rig comes in handy. This configuration is most commonly used with an approximately 15-feet leader. It places an egg sinker on top of a two-way pivot. The long leader allows live bait or dead bait to flotilla along the bottom. Your prey will not detect any unusual resistance when it grabs the bait because of the long leader.

The article was written by a professional charter captain at Salty Knots Fishing Charters with 15+ years of experience in the Gulf of Mexico. Salty Knots Fishing Charters is a local fishing charter service based out of St. Pete Beach, Florida. “We know what it takes to catch a giant trophy fish!” Salty Knots Is the best when it comes to St Pete Beach Fishing Charters.