How to Catch Yellowtail Snapper

How to Catch Yellowtail SnapperYellowtail snappers are not only lively little fish for an angler to catch, but they also taste good. Their average size is aorund 3 lbs. Their backs and upper sides have yellow spots covering bluish to olive skin. They also have a very distinctive yellow stripe that runs midlaterally from mouth to tail. Yellowtails live as far north as the Treasure Coast of Florida, but are in greater abundance in the waters of the Florida Keys and Bahamas. They are deep-water feeders, found around reefs and other structures.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Chum bag
  • Knife
  • Sand
  • Ballyhoo
  • Squid
  • Rolled oats
  • 15- to 20-lb. clear or pink test
  • 1/4-ounce barrel weight or split shot
  • No. 4 hook
  • Loran
  • GPS
  • Shrimp
  • Squid
  • Small pilchards
  • Rope
Step 1
Make your chum bag with a mixture of 50 percent sand, 40 percent sliced ballyhoo and squid and 10 percent rolled oats. Cut 4-inch slits periodically throughout the chum bag, so the chum will release easier into the water. Place the chum bag into the freezer or cooler, until you are ready to use it.
Step 2
Rig your reel with 15- to 20-lb. pink to clear test, so the yellowtail will not see it. Yellowtail snappers have very good eyesight and can see a line color different from the surrounding waters. If they see the line, they will not bite your hook.
Step 3
Tie a ¼-ounce barrel weight or piece of split shot onto your line. Tie a No. 4 hook onto the end of the line. The weight is required for the line to sink properly into the water.
Step 4
Use a Loran or GPS to locate reefs, structures, or dropoff areas where you will find yellowtail snappers. Yellowtails congregate in these areas.
Step 5
Tie a line around the end on the chum bag, sealing the opened end closed. Toss the bag into the water in the area you intend on fishing for the yellowtail snappers. Allow the chum to mix thoroughly with the water before starting to fish. This will attract the snappers to the area.
Step 6
Bait your hook with live shrimp, squid or small pilchards. You can even use a piece of ballyhoo.
Step 7
Allow the drag on your line to be loose until you get a bite. You can then tighten it up, set your hook and begin reeling in the fish.
Step 8
Lighten up on the chum mix, once the fish begin to bite. If the fish are not biting, add more chum to the water or move to another location and try again.

Tips & Warnings

The fishing season never closes on yellowtail snapper. The size limit is 12 inches and 10 fish are the bag limit.
Yellowtails will feed during both day and nighttime conditions.

Article Written By Joyce Starr

Joyce Starr is a professional writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawn care and gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.

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