Key West Red Snapper
Hooking the Red Snapper
Availability of the Fish
For a long time, the Red Snapper was very popular with sport fishermen. Because of this popularity, it was overfished, and the population of the fish fell below sustainable levels. In order to rebuild the population, limits were place on how many of these fish can be caught. Regulation of the catch has allowed the population to slowly recover, but it is still closely managed. A good guide will have the latest limits on the fishing season for this fish and the limits to the catch. Before you put this fish on your “To Catch” list, check with our guides on the current management regulations.
This species has a sloped profile, and a laterally compressed body. Its scales vary from medium to large, and the coloration has a light red tint which becomes more intense on its back. The fish is carnivorous, and so has short, sharp teeth. A mature fish can be anywhere from 15 to 24 inches, although some have been reported as long as 39 inches. The greatest weight reported is 50 pounds.
Where to Find the Fish
Throughout its life cycle, this fish is a bottom dweller, often found at a depth of 240 feet or greater when mature. Juveniles may be found in shallower bottoms, but the challenge for a sport fisherman is landing an adult. Also, although juveniles like open sandy bottoms, the adult fish prefer reefs and high-relief bottom formations. Catching an adult should give any sport fisherman the satisfaction of overcoming the challenges of the bottom environment.
This species will nibble and pick at bait. As a result, the adept fisherman must take a gentle approach when trying to hook one. Bait might consist of strips of amberjack, squid, or even whole medium sized fish. Delivering the bait to the fish in the depths, luring it to do more than nibble on the bait, and then persisting in a steady process of reeling in a hooked fish, are all part of the appeal in going after the Red Snapper as a game fish.
Enjoying Sport Fishing in Key West
The enticements of this species for the sport fisherman can lie in the different environments that are within reach of a base of operations in Key West. In the Atlantic waters the surface and bottom may be rougher than those of the Gulf of Mexico. Reef formations may vary. Our team can guide you to the Key West fishing experience you desire. Don’t attempt fishing by guesswork. Contact the experts in order to have the best fishing excursion you can imagine.