Fish Facts: Red Snapper

Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) reach a maximum size of ~50 pounds. Red Snapper, as the name implies, have a somewhat reddish color. A more descriptive adjective would probably be rose colored. The young have a large dark spot just below the back part of the dorsal fin. Red Snapper range from Massachusetts down to Florida and west through the Gulf of Mexico to the Yucatan and the Caribbean.

Red Snapper are schooling fish and are very important gamefish as well as commercial fish. Red Snapper can be caught year round in Louisiana, they do not migrate at all and can sometimes live for long periods of time (yrs) at the same structure. Their love of structure makes Louisiana’s numerous offshore oilrigs excellent places to look when fishing for snapper.

Red Snapper are commonly caught in water from 60′ to 300′ feet deep. But this doesn’t mean that they will be on the bottom. It’s a good idea to start fishing shallow since they will often be only 30 feet deep although they are in water much deeper. They often move to shallower waters in the winter. Snapper will always live in and around structure, which provides them with protection from large predators as well as are prime hunting ground.

Key Notes and Tips:

  • Red Snapper feed on smaller fish, squid, shrimp and eels.
  • Jig fisherman sometimes catch Red Snapper but the overwellming majority are caught on natural bait.
  • The older a Red Snapper gets the more line shy it becames.
  • If you want to catch big Red Snapper then you must fish with large baits.
  • Click here to see a picture of a large Red Snapper