A Famous Fish.
The Gulf of Mexico has a wide variety of Snapper to offer, from Mangrove, Yellowtail, Vermillion, Lane, Black, to name a few. Of all the eleven types of Snapper we have available to us in the Gulf, the Red Snapper is iconic. When a Red Snapper is served whole at the table, it is an unforgettable experience.
A memorable culinary experience follows the beautiful presentation as you indulge in the delicious mild, flaky, firm white meat on your fork. With millions of anglers coming to the Gulf of Mexico each year to catch these fish, Red Snapper is indisputably the signature fish of the Gulf of Mexico.
When that large beautiful bright red fish is brought out to the table, all you hear is “oohhs” and “aahhs”.
Harvest And Conservation
Lutjanus campechanus, commonly known as Red Snapper, is one of the most targeted fish on Pensacola fishing charters. Due to conservation efforts over the past few decades, the Red Snapper population has come back strong, and there are plenty of them to go around.
The season changes every year, but the state typically gives us about 45-55 days of the season to harvest them. At the time of writing this article, in the Pensacola area, Red Snapper has to be 16″ to keep with a bag limit of 2 fish per customer on the boat.
When they are not in season, it doesn’t stop Captains from targeting them for catch and release clients as they are a blast to catch.
I love watching clients fight them thinking they have a 30lb fish on the line only to find out it was a powerful 10lb Red Snapper. Pound for pound, they put up a heck of a fight!
How To Catch Red Snapper
There are many different ways to target this fun-fighting fish, but the most common way for us is to use what we refer to as a “Carolina Rig.” I use a medium-heavy 6′-7′ rod with an open-faced high-speed reel with 80lb braid and plenty of drag to keep the fish from getting to the bottom and cutting your line. Above the leader, I typically use a 6 – 8 oz egg weight depending on the current.
For the leader, I use a variety of different-sized lines depending on the time of year. Early in the season, you can catch fish using 80 lb or even 100 lb test, however later in the season, as the fish get smarter, they get leader shy, and I have to downsize to 50 or even 30 lb test, which can make things very difficult!
For bait, I typically use cut Boston Mackerel, Menhaden, live Cigar Minnows, or any other live bait I can get my hands on.
How To Cook Red Snapper
How does Red Snapper taste? As mentioned earlier, Red Snapper meat is firm and flakey and considered very desirable, which is why you can find it in so many different fish markets and restaurants. The oils in the fish allow it to be cooked any way you enjoy your fish. For me, you can’t go wrong with fried fish.
If I want to get fancy, I pan fry them in olive oil after rolling them in egg wash, flour, sweetened coconut, and pecan. I know lots of people who like their Snapper broiled or grilled as well.
If you are on vacation in the Pensacola area, you might want to bring your fillets to a local restaurant and have them prepare them for you for a hassle-free, delicious meal!
Regardless of how you enjoy your fish – you can’t go wrong with Red Snapper.
If you’re looking to catch some Red Snapper the next time you’re in the Pensacola area, even if you are staying in Navarre or Perdido, give us a call, and we can get you on the books to rip some lips! Either way, I hope you found this article helpful, and I wish you tight lines and fun times on the Emerald Coast.
See you soon, Captain Austin.