How to catch Mangrove Snapper: Fishing Tips For Gray Snapper

Kristian Ole



Have you ever wanted to learn the techniques and tips for catching a mangrove snapper? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Having devoted a considerable amount of time and experience to pursuing Snappers, I have compiled a detailed guide on the best methods for catching these elusive fish. This article will discuss the best ways to catch Mangrove snappers (aka gray snapper), including bait selection, the right equipment, and the best locations to fish. 

With the proper knowledge and preparation, you’ll catch a Mangrove Snapper in no time! So, if you’re ready to start, let’s dive in and learn how to catch Snapper.

Species Overview 

Common NamesMangrove Snapper, gray snapper
Latin nameLutjanus griseus
Size12 to 16 inches but can go up to 35 inches 
Weight2 to 10 lbs but can reach up to 44 lbs
Where to findFrom Florida to Brazil, Bermuda, The Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea
Preferred seasonSummy season from June to August
Best weatherSunny weather when waters are warmer
Temperature58 – 62°F

Gear & Setup 

Fishing location Beach Piers, Docks and Bridges, Deep holes, Oyster Beds
TechniqueDrift fishing, bottom Bouncing, Jigging
Best baitShrimp, pinfish, grunts, pilchards, and cigar minnows
Best luresSilver spoon, Curl Tail Grubs
Fishing rod length7 to 8 ft
Fishing rod actionMedium-light to medium-heavy rod with a fast action
KnotsPalomar Knot
Fishing line12-20lbs Braided line, 10-15lbs monofilament line
ReelMedium-Sized 40 Spinning Reel

Fighting Mangrove Snapper

Mangrove Snappers are a thrilling catch for any angler, and they put up a great fight! They often make strong runs and can be tricky to reel in with their powerful head shakes. The battle can last from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the fish’s size and the angler’s skill. 

Be sure to use a heavy-duty rod and reel combination, as Mangrove Snapper can fight quite well. Once you have a bite, use steady pressure to keep the line tight and move the Snapper away from the structure. Try to keep the fish from diving deep when you can, as this can cause the line to break.

Tackle for Mangrove Snapper

A good selection of tackle is critical to ensuring you have the best chance of success when trying to catch a Mangrove Snapper. When selecting a tackle, ensure you have the right size and strength of line and the correct hook type. 

Rod and Reel

To ensure a successful catch, you should use a medium-action fishing rod in the 7- to 8-foot range. I recommend a medium-heavy action rod with a reel that holds at least 200 yards of 20-30lb test line for optimal performance. I also recommend a medium-sized 40-spinning reel.

This rod and reel combination will provide the power to pull the fish out of a structure and the line capacity to handle deep-water fishing. The medium size of the reel also gives you more control, which is essential when dealing with such an active fish. 


If you’re looking for the perfect fishing line for Mangrove Snapper, I recommend using a 12-20 lbs braided line or a 10-15 lbs monofilament line. Both lines are ideal for catching Mangrove Snapper, as the braided line gives you more strength and the monofilament more flexibility. 

Use a fluorocarbon leader to help ensure that you don’t scare the fish away with a too-visible line.


You can use jigs, soft plastics, curl tail grubs, and cut bait for lures. Jigs should be 1/4 to 1/2 ounce and be fished with a slow retrieve. Soft plastics should be in the 3-4 inch range and can be rigged weedless.

It is important to remember that Mangrove Snapper can be quite finicky, so experiment with different colors and sizes of lures to find what works best.

Where to Catch Mangrove Snapper

Florida keys mangrove snapper location

You can find Mangrove snapper in various locations, from Florida to Brazil, Bermuda, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. 

Depending on the region, anglers can target mangrove snapper in beach piers, docks, bridges, deep holes, and oyster beds. 

You can find the species in Florida on many beaches, piers, docks, and bridges along the coast. 

In the Gulf of Mexico, deep holes, oyster beds, and other shallow water areas are ideal spots for catching Mangrove Snapper. 

In the Caribbean Sea and Bermuda, you can catch Mangrove Snapper in nearshore waters, including around mangroves, coral reefs, and other hard Bottom areas. 

While you can locate mangrove snapper in various habitats, the most productive areas are usually near structures such as reefs, pilings, and jetties. It would help if you also kept an eye out for areas of sandy or muddy bottoms, as these can be prime spots for mangrove snapper. 

No matter where you are fishing, paying attention to the local regulations when targeting Mangrove Snapper is important.

Fishing Techniques for Mangrove Snapper

Mangrove Snappers always thrive in temperatures between 58 – 62°F, making bottom bouncing an ideal technique for fishing. Here are three best techniques you can use when fishing this feisty fish:

Bottom Bouncing

Bottom bouncing is a great way to target Mangrove Snapper. This technique involves using a heavy weight to drag bait along the bottom of the ocean. 

To use this technique, attach a sinker to the end of the line and then tie a hook to the other end. Then, cast the line out and let it sink to the bottom. 

When bottom bouncing, use a lightweight line to keep the bait closer to the bottom and make it easier to detect bites. Additionally, use a slow and steady retrieve to keep the bait in the strike zone for longer.

Once the line is on the bottom, slowly drag it along the bottom as you reel it in. If you feel a tug on your line, set the hook and begin to reel in your catch!

Drift Fishing

Drift fishing is an excellent and very effective method for catching Mangrove Snapper. It involves using a slow-moving boat to drag your bait through the water. The technique is effective because the bait is naturally presented to the fish.

Maximize your success by using varieties of baits and adjust the depth of the line depending on the water depth. I always use fresh bait such as shrimp, squid, minnows, and live crabs.

Keep the boat’s speed steady to ensure you properly present the bait. You may also use a lightweight rod and reel with a long leader line. 

As the boat moves, the bait will be pulled along and attract any nearby fish. If you feel a tug on the line, quickly reel in the fish and enjoy your catch!



Use a live shrimp for bait and cast it near structures like docks, pilings, and jetties. Use a medium to heavy-action rod with a spinning reel and 10 to 12-pound test line for best results. Lower the bait to the bottom and slow-roll it around the structure for a successful catch.

Jigging for Mangrove Snapper is an exciting and rewarding way to catch these delicious fish!

To start jigging for this fish, ensure a good-quality jigging rod and reel, along with the appropriate jigging lures. Then, cast the jig out, and allow it to sink to the bottom of the water. 

Once the jig reaches the bottom, you should reel it up quickly and allow it to sink back down. Repeat this process until a mangrove snapper takes the bait. 

You’ll want to vary the speed and depth of your lure to ensure that your bait catches the fish’s attention. Since Mangrove Snapper moves in schools, the speed should be slow, between 1.5 and 2.5 mph.

Set the hook and fight the fish to the surface when you feel a strike. Maintain a steady, controlled pace as you bring your catch closer to the boat.


About Kristian Ole

Kristian Ole Rørbye, a marine biologist and seasoned angler, shares his fishing adventures and expertise on FishingKris. Join him as he explores the world's waters, one cast at a time.

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