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Yellowtail Snapper

Species Information

Scientific Name:Ocyurus chrysurus
Environment:Inshore, Nearshore, Offshore
Ideal Temp:72-90°F (22-32°F)
Technique:Bottom Fishing, Casting, Jigging
Lure Type:Bottom Rig, Jigs, Soft Plastics
World Record:4.98 kg (11 lb 0 oz) Challenger Bank, Bermuda 16-Jun-2004
Other Names:Yellowtail Snapper

The Yellowtail Snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus) is an abundant species of snapper native to the western Atlantic Ocean including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Although they have been found as far north as Massachusetts, their normal range is along Florida south to the West Indies and Brazil. It is the sole member of the monotypic genus Ocyurus, the name of which is derived from the Greek words okys, meaning "swift", as in the bird, and oura, meaning "tail", a reference to the tail being forked like that of a swift. Chrysurus is derived from the Greek word chryso, meaning "golden".

Yellowtail snapper have a distinct yellow lateral band beginning at the snout that gets wider towards the forked tail, which is completely yellow. The rest of the fish is an olive to bluish black color with yellow spots above the lateral band. The dorsal fin is yellow while the anal and pelvic fins are whitish by bony spines. The dorsal fin consists of 10 spines and between 10-12 soft rays, while the anal fins consist of 3 spines and 8-9 soft rays each. In contrast to other snapper species, the head and mouth of Ocyurus chrysurus are small and the species does not have a dark lateral spot below its dorsal fin.

This species is mostly found around coral reefs, but may be found in other habitats. They occur at depths of from near the surface to 180 meters (590 ft), though mostly between 10 and 70 m (33 and 230 ft). This species can reach a length of 86.3 cm (34.0 in), though most do not exceed 40 cm (16 in). They spawn in groups off the edges of reefs from spring to fall, but heavily in midsummer.

Natural predators of adult yellowtail snapper include large fishes such as barracuda, mackerel, grouper, sharks, and even other snapper species. Yellowtails feed on shrimp, crabs, worms, and smaller fish. Yellowtail snapper are typically caught in 30–120 ft of water on and around reefs and other structures. Yellowtail snapper can be caught on a variety of baits, including both live and frozen shrimp, squid, and a variety of live and frozen minnows or smaller baitfish. Yellowtail tend to be wary fish, and the appearance of larger predators, such as dolphins or sharks, can scare off schools until the predator leaves the area. Yellowtail snapper is highly prized for its light, flaky meat and is considered by some to be one of the best of the snapper family.

Latest Yellowtail Snapper Fishing Reports and Spots

Oct. 10 - 10/11/2022 7:07:00 AM

Kingfish and some yellowtail snapper (View)

Oct 24 2019 - 10/24/2019 8:54:09 AM

After our annual fall boat yard trip we are back in the water to resume running charter fishing trips. There has been good fall Dolphin fishing (View)

Dec 21 2019 - 12/21/2019 10:32:17 PM

    We've been catching a mixed bag of species of late. Sailfishing is decent most days we've fished for them we've caught them. There has also (View)

Aug 26 2020 - 8/26/2020 3:10:13 PM

Steady Dolphin fishing has been the rule during the last month. In terms of sheer numbers of fish the last month has been better than July. As (View)

Yellowtail Snapper - 7/13/2022 1:16:30 PM

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Yellowtail Snapper - 7/13/2022 1:16:17 PM

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Yellowtail Snapper - 7/13/2022 1:15:39 PM

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Yellowtail Snapper - 7/13/2022 1:13:58 PM

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Yellowtail Snapper - 7/13/2022 1:10:06 PM

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Yellowtail Snapper - 7/13/2022 1:10:05 PM

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