Mangrove Snapper

The mangrove snapper or gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus) is a species of snapper native to the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean Sea. The species can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including brackish and fresh waters. It is commercially important, as well as being sought as a game fish. It can also be found in the aquarium trade.

Its color is typically greyish red, but it can change color from bright red to copper red. It has a dark stripe running across its eye if observed from the top when it is under water. This species can reach a length of 89 cm (35 in), though most do not exceed 40 cm (16 in).

The mangrove snapper can be confused with the cubera snapper or black snapper, L. cyanopterus. Mangrove snapper are typically much smaller than cubera, but when they are of similar size, the two species can only be distinguished by examining the tooth patch on the inside roof of the mouth. Many specimens caught in Florida, specifically Punta Gorda, are actually misidentified dogtooth or dog snapper, L. jocu. The best way to distinguish between the two species is the dog snapper has a lighter triangle of color with a blue band under the eye and large, and sharp fangs in the front (canines), hence its common name. These fangs can deliver a painful bite, even in a small fish. The mangrove snapper feeds mostly on small fishes and crustaceans. 

The mangrove snapper is one of the most common species of snapper in warmer regions. It can be found in many areas from canals to grass flats, as well as in open water. Mangrove snapper also prefer structure, such as docks, mangroves, shipwrecks, and debris. Most mangrove snapper in the open water are generally found near bottom structure or reefs. They can be found at depths from 5 to 180 m (16 to 591 ft) though are mostly found at less than 50 m (160 ft).

Mangrove snapper are common targets for anglers, and are highly prized for their light and flaky flesh. They can be found year around and are often found in the mangroves, and around docks or other structures. They are easy to catch, which makes fishing for them ideal for beginner anglers. In addition, they are usually found in schools, so catching many in a short period of time is not uncommon. They are relatively strong for their size, and they put up a good fight when hooked. They can be caught on a variety of baits, but are typically caught with live or frozen shrimp, squid, pilchards, mullet, ballyhoo, pinfish, and occasionally on artificial lures or baits. Most mangrove snapper are caught on light to medium tackle, and typical catches range from 8 to 14 in long (0.5-2.0 lbs) in shallow or in-shore waters, and up to 20 in long (about 5 lb) in deeper waters. Larger fish are uncommon, but not rare.

Species Information

Scientific Name:Lutjanus griseus
Environment:Inshore, Nearshore, Offshore
Ideal Temp:68-81°F (20-27°C)
Technique:Bottom Fishing, Casting, Jigging
Lure Type:Bottom Rig, Jigs, Soft Plastics
World Record:18 lbs 10 oz ( 8.45 kg)
Other Names:mango, mangrove snapper, gray snapper, grey snapper, sarde grise, caranha, caballerote

Latest Mangrove Snapper Fishing Reports and Spots

2/26/21 18HR East of 20 Fathoms - 2/26/2021 12:22:44 PM

Captain Garrett and Jerry with 10 passengers aboard headed out to the fishing grounds with beautiful clear skies a light breeze and calm seas. W (View)


2/27/21 18HR East of 20 Fathoms - 2/27/2021 11:23:54 AM

Captains Jerry and Garrett took our anglers on a smooth ride out into the Gulf in picture perfect weather. The bite was a little tough on this t (View)


3/13/21 18HR East of 20 Fathoms - 3/13/2021 1:41:22 PM

We had Capt Rich at the helm and Joe with me on deck and 21 eager anglers for this picture perfect weather filled trip. From the 1st stop to the (View)


2-17-21 - 2/2/2017 10:27:28 AM

Good morning everyone. The changing weather pattern continues to shuffle deck as far as fishing goes but there have been some bright spots. The (View)


Offshore Shopping.... - 3/14/2021 1:00:00 AM

What a day to go offshore. Phil and Joe had quite the trip and we loaded up on the mango's. I pushed on out to 35ft of water and freelined live (View)


Offshore Goodies.... - 1/23/2021 3:06:05 PM

What a gorgeous day to go offshore and Mark and Craig had an awesome trip. I pushed on out to 40ft of water today and the snapper bite was grea (View)


Crystal River Heavy Weights... - 12/17/2020 9:26:51 PM

Wow... Some big dogs on today's trip with the Swain team and once again we pushed offshore quite a bit. The seas were a bit bumpy but doable wi (View)


Offshore Mix... - 12/14/2020 8:01:28 PM

It's definitely a deeper game right now and we made the 20 mile ride to 30ft today. Marilyn and David were my team again and they sure did grea (View)


October 3 2018 Crystal River Fishing Report - 10/3/2018 10:22:53 AM

Redfish Trout Triple Tail Flounder Mackerel & Mango Snapper. We’ve been catching a little bit of everything here in Crystal River. The southern (View)


October 3rd, 2018 - 10/3/2018 10:29:20 AM

Redfish, Trout, Triple Tail, Flounder, Mackerel, & Mango Snapper. We've been catching a little bit of everything here in Crystal River. Th (View)