Gray Snapper (Lutjanusgriseus) is a fish belonging to the Lutjanidae family. This fish is known for many names such as Cabellerote, Mango Snapper, Black Snapper or Mangrove Snapper.
The color of this fish is greyish red b it has the ability to change its color from brilliant to copper red. Dark stripe that runs from its snout through the eyes just below the dorsal fin of the gray snapper fish is prominent once you look at it under the water. These lines darken once the fish got excited or while feeding. This snapper fish may weigh up to six pounds but biologists have confirmed that off Louisiana coast, a mangrove snapper weighing 29.5 pounds or 13.4 kilos was speared.
You can find Gray Snapper fish at the coast of Florida, Caribbean and the Bahamas. Juveniles seasonally inhabit in almost all coastal estuaries and shallow water regions of Florida. They are even plentiful at the southern part of the state, the Caribbean as well as the Bahamas all year round. When it reaches the size of 12 inches, almost all of this fish species switch homes and goes to the deeper waters. If you want to catch a snapper fish, you can find them at Gulf ledges, artificial reefs, coral reefs and wrecks. You can also catch big sized snapper fish in deep channels as well passes lying along the coastal waters. Black Snapper is the bigger fish that can be caught in the deeper water parts in the Panhandle.
The size of the snapper fish depends on their habitat. Inshore, fewer snapper fish surpasses one foot in length but it can weigh of up to six pounds in deeper waters and may weigh about 20 pounds or even more. The food value of the snapper fish greatly depends on its size. It is excellent if the fish weighs a pound or more, but larger than that has stronger taste.
You can easily catch juvenile snapper fish using cut bait or dead shrimp to lure them, but this fish grow older, it would be difficult to fool as they learned from their experience. If you want to catch it, you have to trim your hooks sizes as well as the terminal tackle and leaders. Gray Snappers make strong and forceful runs once they got hooked and wage a bulldogging fight for survival along its way to the side of the boat.
The best tackle and bait for the Gray Snapper are lightweight baitcasting rigs and inshore spinning. They should be baited with live minnows, live shrimp and fiddler crabs, cut squid, and cut baitfish or cut shrimp. A lot of inshore Gray Snapper fishes are also hooked on lures, around snags or along mangroves that lined the shorelines. Popping flies and surface plugs also catch Gray Snapper fish just like jigs or streamers. Lightweight ocean tackle as well as heavier baitcasting and spinning tackles are the best for offshore gray snapper fishing. The best baits for offshore Gray fishing are live small fishes such as Sardines and Pilchards, cut squid, live shrimp, cut fish and cut crab.
Heard about schoolmaster? What usually comes into your mind? Typically, when people heard the word schoolmaster, they all have the same thought which is the male academic personnel who is responsible for the administration of the school. But if you ask a fisherman who are fond of fishing snapper fish, you will get this answer. It is another type of snapper fish that produces delicious white meat but is difficult to catch. Schoolmaster snapper fish is another species of snapper fish that thrives in subtropical waters typically off the coast of Florida. It dwells off the coast of Florida through the subtropical waters of the Caribbean and the Bahamas.
Schoolmaster snapper fish is widely distributed through the subtropical coastal areas of the southern part of the North America typically Florida. They also extend through the waters of the Caribbean and the Bahamas where relatively warm waters surround the islands.
Schoolmaster snapper fish live in shallow coastal waters over the coral reefs, mangroves and other reefs with bottom characteristics. They thrive on relatively warm waters because they cannot survive the cold waters especially on winter. Juvenile schoolmaster snapper stays on the sand bottom even without sea-grass. Juveniles also stay on muddy bottoms on mangrove areas. The young ones tend to stay on the shore and shallow waters. Juveniles are usually seen in groups and like other species of snapper fish they go into deeper waters as they mature. They feed on small fishes, shrimps, worms, cephalopods, crabs, and gastropods.
Schoolmaster’s snout is long and pointed and has blue stripes and the mouth is relatively large. It has a pair of large canine teeth which is still visible even when the mouth is closed. Its pectoral fins almost reach the anus. Its scales run parallel through the back to the lateral line. Its back goes from olive gray to relatively brownish in color of the upper back as well as the sides. It has a yellow to reddish shades around its head. It has eight narrow vertical bars which sometimes became pale or faded on larger adults. It has a blue line under its eye which fade and became absent as they mature. The fins especially the caudal fin is shaded with bright yellow color, yellow green to pale orange. They spawn all over the year but most of the time during mid-year to summer. Both male and female fish release their gametes through the water. The eggs which are fertilized are left unguarded at the bottom until they are hatched.
The maximum length of the schoolmaster snapper fish spans for about 67.2 centimeters weighing up to 10.8 kilograms. Schoolmaster along with other species of snapper fish are favourite of fishermen though they difficult to catch. They are high-valued in the market because of its delicious meat. Fishing for schoolmaster snapper is relatively easy as they are thriving in shallow waters but larger ones will still be found on deeper waters. When fishing for this specie, natural baits are more effective especially when you are in the waters of some states in the U.S. because they have this regulation banning artificial baits.
The world has just a hundred plus species of snapper fish. They are distributed throughout the world from east to western regions. They cover shallow to deep waters and ranging significantly from small to large size. They also thrive both in relatively cold to warm waters. But one thing is for sure, they have this common thing in them that makes them easily distinguished as a snapper fish. They snap their mouth up and down especially when they are caught by fishermen. And that is where the name came from.
Among all the species, red snapper fish is the most famous which occupies the Northern American waters. If there will be second famous to red snapper, it would be mutton snapper fish or scientifically known as Lutjanus analis. This specie is commonly found in Caribbean waters but it can also be found in the waters of North Carolina up to the regions of South America. Mutton snapper fish are usually found thriving in grassbeds, canals, and mangroves. Adults that can survive deeper waters are found mingling in offshore reefs.
How to Distinguish a Mutton Snapper Fish
If you are a fisherman you can easily distinguish a mutton snapper fish. Just like other snappers they come in relatively reddish in color. You can also easily distinguish them based on the region they are thriving. While Lutjanus analis appears the same as that of red snapper, the former’s upper back color is olive green. It has also a small spot just below its dorsal fin. All the fins below lateral lines have shades of red. It has a blue line right below the eyes. Its anal fin is pointed, and maybe that is the reason behind its scientific name. Sometimes fishermen mistakenly distinguish mutton to red snapper especially in deeper water because of their red fins. But in relatively shallow waters, they can be easily distinguished because of the olive green back color.
How to Catch Mutton Snapper Fish
Mutton Snapper feed on shrimps, squids, crabs, snails, and of course small fishes. They prefer lower reef structures for their food. Just like the red snapper and lane snapper, mutton has a high value because of its delectable taste when cooked. Being difficult to catch is maybe another reason why it has a high value in the market. Normally, mutton snapper are difficult to catch because close approach won’t work on them. But just like other fish, they can be easily caught with baits. Their favorite baits include live or frozen shrimps, minnows, squids, and small fish as this is their usual food.
While muttons prefer live baits they can also be lured through artificial baits. When fishing for mutton snapper you should go on with deeper reefs as they are not commonly found on shallow waters. Because muttons thrive on deeper waters, you should practice bottom fishing. Deep jigging is proven effective in bottom fishing. You can use live or frozen baits but they can also be lured through artificial baits. When using dead baits, pinfish is the most effective baits for mutton snapper fish.