Florida is a well-known destination for snapper fishing. But many fishermen don’t know the best bait to use when catching these fish. In this blog post, we’ll talk about what makes a good bait and how to make the best choice depending on the type of fish you’re going after.
In order to find out what’s most effective, we’ve created a chart that lays out each type of bait along with which species it would be most effective against. We hope this information will help you choose wisely as you set out on your next fishing adventure!
How To Choose Baits For Catching Florida Snapper
When fishing for snapper in Florida, anglers have a number of baits to choose from. Different types of baitfish and any type of artificial lure that has a similar appearance to them will work well on snappers. Depending on the species you’re targeting, specific colors or sizes may be more effective than others.
Snapper can be caught with live or dead bait, but when you’re using larger baits such as mullet, it’s best to use a wire leader and hook. This is important because in addition to the snapper they feed on small fish and crustaceans which can chew through the monofilament line. If you don’t have wire leaders on your reels, be sure to bring a few spares because sooner or later you will lose a bait.
In addition, to live finfish, such as mullet and pinfish, snappers will also bite on their own species. A small snapper released from your hook is an effective bait for larger snapper. The snapper will attack it as if it were trying to defend its territory and this stimulates the larger snappers’ predatory instincts.
A small hook below a popping cork works great for catching both mangrove and red snapper. Dead baits such as mullet, pinfish, grunts, soldier crabs, and shrimp can be rigged on a small hook or circle hook. Live shrimp with the legs removed works great on any type of snapper.
Poppers and Flies
Fly fishermen can cast large poppers to schooled-up red snappers, “reds” as they are called in most areas, with no problem. These fish will follow your fly all the way to your backing. Poppers, spoons, and other lures work very well for snapper of all kinds. A common mistake with popper fishermen is to cast at schools of fish, let the popper sink, then retrieve it fast enough to make it pop on the surface. When they do that, snapper will often grab the lure but spit it out. Instead of popping the lure, just let it sink for a few seconds before retrieving it.
After you have landed a snapper, cut up some mullet or other baitfish into chunks that are small enough for your hook and put them on the hook. Usually, one chunk will do, but if they are in an area with larger fish, two chunks are better. Snapper will hit these hard all the way to the boat. Snapper anglers love live bait because they are much more aggressive once they are hooked. It’s common for them to follow a chunk of mullet right into your lap.
Using a big bait such as a whole mullet or pinfish, you can troll them and catch snapper as well as many other species. Most anglers use conventional reels on their outboard motors to troll with live baits. The conventional reel allows the line to be free spooled without any drag which is crucial for trolling.
Trolling with a fly rod is also very effective for snapper. Fly fishermen can use the same type of popper, or one that imitates a shrimp or crab, and keep it moving up and down as you troll along. In addition to reds, this technique works well on mangrove snappers.
If your line starts moving off your reel in one direction, chances are you’ve got a snapper on the other end. Set the hook immediately to avoid losing them, but don’t set it too hard or you’ll pull the hook out of their mouths.
Snapper generally hits baits and lures while they’re swimming away from you, so just make sure you’re not pulling too fast. The only times they’ll hit a bait or lure when they’re swimming toward you are when they are either chasing another fish that is hooked or trying to steal it from another angler.
Getting the Bait Close
Some snappers are deep divers and others will stay fairly close to the surface. The ones that stay fairly shallow can be caught on a popping cork. You want to make sure your bait is kept close to the surface so you don’t waste time fishing for them in areas where they are too deep.
Now you know how to choose baits for catching Florida snapper, so the next time you’re out on the water all you’ll need to do is get your favorite bait and cast it out, then sit back and wait for a bite.
What size lures do snapper like?
Smaller is better when it comes to fishing for snapper. Size does matter! The smaller the size of the lure, the more snapper you are likely to catch.
These fish aren’t particularly fussy eaters and will readily take a range of different styles and types of lures. For bottom fishing, plastic squidgy-style lures are a good option. These have a soft texture that snapper love.
We also recommend fishing with a high-speed reel, which will help you to feel the fish pick up your lure. When fishing for snapper, it’s important to remember that these fish are less active than other types of fish and so they don’t run as hard or fast on the line.
What color lures do snapper like?
If there is one question that I hear over and over again when folks are on the water it has to be “What color lures seem to work best for snapper?” The simplest answer to this question is that all color lures work. The more complicated answer involves species, size of fish, and water clarity, but what really matters is the condition of the fish at the time you are fishing. For example, if you were to ask me what color lures work best for snapper when they are in deep water, I would tell you black or blue because that is what many fish are feeding on in deeper waters. If you were to ask me the same question when snapper are schooling up near shore during spawning time, I would tell you red or white lures because these colors closely mimic their natural prey at that time of year.
Theoretically, all colors will work because snapper do not have color vision! However, does this mean that we should just use a random assortment of lures and colors in our spread and expect to catch fish? Of course not. The point of choosing different colors is to match the color of your lure to that of what the fish are feeding on at that time.
For example, if you were fishing with me in clear water in 100 feet of water and I just caught a fish on a green lure. Would you immediately grab your green lure to try to catch some fish? Of course not because we know that this snapper was feeding on something other than the color green. If you did use a green lure, you would be fishing blind.
The next time that we go snapper fishing and I catch a fish on a blue lure in 100 feet of water, would you grab your blue-colored lure to try for some fish? If you did, the outcome would most likely not be very positive. So what should you do if there is no one around to ask what color lures the fish are feeding on and you see a buddy catching some fish?
We hope this article has helped provide insight into how each type of baitfish can help make your fishing experience easier. In conclusion, we recommend that you use a variety of different baits to catch all types of fish and not just one! If you’re still not convinced, take our advice and try something new!