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Gray Snapper

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

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.

Latest Gray Snapper Fishing Reports and Spots

4/22/19 30 Fathom Elbow - 4/22/2019 2:13:00 PM

Beautiful weather greeted the Gulfstar as it headed into the crystal waters of the Gulf of Mexico in search of some Tuna. The 1st night saw a de (View)

4/26/19 44HR Middle Grounds - 4/26/2019 4:03:00 PM

This trip started off with a bumpy ride out with winds that laid down slowly but nicely just in time for some fishing action. The 1st night star (View)

4/30/19 40 Fathom Edges 52 Hour Season Opener Extravaganza - 4/30/2019 12:19:00 PM

For the highly anticipated Season Opener Extravaganza guests and crew enjoyed beautiful blue skies the whole trip and the first night out was ex (View)

44 hour 3/8/23 trip report - 3/8/2023 2:11:00 PM

    I hope everyone has had a wonderful week! From our previous email and posts sent we ended up needing to move our trip to 3/8/2023 due to wea (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 19 August 2022 🎣 - 8/19/2022 2:03:11 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 19/08/22 @cooperrwatsonn snagged this beauty of a snap of (View)

Tampa Bay Offshore fishing Charters - 1/29/2018 12:58:02 PM

Tampa bay Offshore fishing charters from St. Pete Beach have been producing Hog Snapper Mangos Sea Bass Tuna Amberjack and Grouper. Surface wat (View)

6/24/21 30 Fathom ARS - 6/24/2021 11:18:00 AM

Weather….so let’s be honest the weather so far this June has been a tough one. These summer squalls have brought some tough winds with them. We (View)

6/17/21 30 Fathom Red Snapper - 6/17/2021 11:03:00 AM

Alrighty then let’s see here if I can accurately describe the weather simply put… the weather on this trip was very nice at times and not so nic (View)

6/12/21 18hr Red Snapper - 6/12/2021 8:24:00 AM

On this trip we had about 15kts of wind and 2-4′ seas. Towards the end of the trip the weather started to balance off and it created a very nice (View)

6/14/21 30 Fathom Red Snapper - 6/14/2021 9:18:00 AM

Weather on this trip was not the best. Had wind and seas to deal with throughout the trip. During the day it did finally let up and gave us a pr (View)