3 Factors on Where to Catch Red Snapper

By Andy Whitcomb

Nov 15, 2018

Red snapper populations are on the rebound.  Here are three factors to help locate this popular fish.

Perhaps I should rephrase the title to “where to fish for red snapper.” Because, like the old saying, there is a reason “it is called ‘fishing’ and not ‘catching.’” The red snapper is a tremendously popular saltwater species, often found on restaurant menus. Highly sought by anglers for this dining reason, it also doesn’t hurt that they can reach over 30 pounds and put up a strong battle. The first part of any red snapper fishing is to locate these fish in a massive ocean. Here are three factors that will help you decide where to catch red snapper.

1. Warm

Red snapper fishing locations for the U.S. are on the east coast in the warmer waters of the Carolinas, down to the Gulf of Mexico.

2. Deep

Though not a true benthic fish, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, schools often appear on sonar at depths of 500 feet or more, but can be as shallow as 30 feet.  This is still deep enough to complicate catch and release efforts if brought to the surface too quickly.

3. Structure

Like most of the other 200 species of snapper, red snapper can be found near rocks, reefs, or any artificial structure like a shipwreck.

Before dropping a circle hook with cut bait down to deep rocks in the warm ocean, make sure your fishing license is up-to-date and that you are familiar with the regulations of these waters.  Also, there are additional factors that you may need to consider when deciding where to fish for red snapper. For instance, there should be forage in the area such as baitfish schools, crabs, or shrimp. And people aren’t the only ones who like to eat red snapper. The presence of other predators such as turtles, sharks, or barracudas could push red snapper to other structure or can at least complicate landings.

While researching where to catch red snapper, you may learn its history of being overfished. In fact in the South Atlantic, during 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2016, harvest was prohibited. Currently, strict commercial and recreational regulations are limiting harvest to help rebuild what once was a great fishery so more red snapper fishing trips can become available.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.