Fishing Rigs, surfcasting information, Fishing Tackle and Components and Fish species

Red Snapper ( Lutjanus campechanus )


  • Lutjanidae

Other Names:

  • North American, Red Snapper
  • Genuine Red, Snapper
  • Pargo Colorado
  • Spain: huachinango, pargo

Red Snapper

  • Average Length: 30 cm - 70 cm *They do get much longer
  • Average Weight: 4lb - 10lb *They do get much heavier

The red snapper is a fish found in the Gulf of Mexico and the southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States and, much less commonly, northward as far as Massachusetts. Along the Panhandle, Red Snappers are sometimes found in fairly shallow water off the beaches, and even in deep holes of the larger bays. The red snapper commonly inhabits waters from 30–200 feet (9.1–61 m), but can be caught as deep as 300 ft (91 m) on occasion. They stay relatively close to the bottom, and inhabit rocky bottom, ledges, ridges, and artificial reefs, including offshore oil rigs and shipwrecks. Like most other snappers, red snappers are gregarious and will form large schools around wrecks and reefs. These schools are usually made up of fish of very similar size. The Red Snapper is rosy red in color with red eyes and range in size from 1lb to 6lb on average. They do get much larger reaching around 20lb with the largest caught around 50lb.

Red snapper will eat almost anything but prefer small fish and crustaceans. They can be caught on live bait as well as cut bait, and will also take artificial lures, but with less vigor. When red snapper bite on a line, they tend to be nibblers and pickers, and a soft touch is needed when trying to catch them. To catch red snapper you need a good berley trail working to attract them to your location. They will take a range of baits such as squid, soft baits, crab, shellfish, pilchard or other bait fish, and many more. They are found at various depths from the sea bed upwards.

Killing a red snapper can be very tricky since they are shaped so that a priest or donger won’t work. To kill a red snapper you need to use an iki spike and we recommend reading this article on < a href="" title="how to kill a red snapper">How to Kill a red snapper

Red Snapper Fishing Rigs

Red Snapper Flesh Characteristics

A highly prized fish for eating and can be cooked in many ways. Red Snapper have large scales so either needs to be scaled or skinned. When filleting there is little meat around the rib area so often this is cut on the angle pictured. The head and spine can be used to make fish stock or fish head soup. Like all fish it is worth bleeding straight after killing it. To learn how to bleed a fish please check out this article on how to bleed a fish.

Red Snapper Flesh