All about yellowtail snappers
Yellowtail snappers usually do not exceed more than five pounds, and have a large tail fin that helps them put up a strong fight. They have long and strong runs, and are nocturnal fish found throughout Florida, the Caribbean, the Bahamas and the coast of Brazil. The smallest fish can weigh less than a pound, but can get up to eight pounds, with the heavier fish being further out to sea.
These fish are easily identifiable by the yellow stripe that runs the entire length of the body. The stripe is vivid in color in youth but pales as they mature. Yellowtail schools like to congregate around coral reefs and dropoffs.
Yellowtails are wary fish and have good eyesight, so often times, lures do not fool them and they don’t bite. Using bait normally hooks them.
Catching yellowtail snappers
The best way to catch yellowtail snappers is to fish offshore, and using chum, especially since they are a schooling fish. Adding in sand to your chum mix can make it easier to hide the lures and the hook, making it more likely that they will bite. Many yellowtails are caught in the water column and you need the right current. You can test the current by taking some chum and placing it in the water. If it shoots past the boat, the current is too fast, but if the chum sinks then the current is too slow. You want something in the middle, where the chum can stay afloat and it drifts.
Wait 15-20 minutes before casting your line for the maximum amount of fish to appear. Bait such as shrimp, squid and sardines are highly effective. Keep the rod tip low, and slowly pull the line by hand to move it at the same pace as the chum, so that the bait is presented naturally. When the line starts coming off quickly, close the bail and raise the rod tip to hook the fish, then start reeling in fast. If you are not fast enough, the yellowtails will break the line on the surrounding coral. Every so often, thaw another block of chum or throw overboard some bait to keep the yellowtails coming.
If you do not want to use the bait, spinning tackles and small jigs are recommended to try and attract the yellowtails. Two line fishing can work, but three is too many. Be careful of barracuda, who will come up to snap at your catch. If it snaps half of your yellowtail, do not throw the rest into the water as the blood can scare the other yellowtails away and attract more predators.
Yellowtails are abundant throughout the year and come in large schools, making it a good fish to introduce kids to fishing and one of the most popular fish! Book your fishing trip and try your hand at catching yellowtail snappers with the help of an experienced captain.
The Yellowtail Snapper is one of the most sought-after table fare in the Florida Keys. To catch them, we travel to the edge of the reef, about five and a half miles out and relax while we watch them come up from the deep waters. Besides the Yellowtail, the reefs are home to various species such as Mangrove Snapper, Mutton Snapper, and Grouper. Your trip will be spent having fun as we catch these reef fish. You will have the option to take them home whole or have them filleted.