Mutton Snapper Fishing Tips

Mutton Snapper Fishing TipsMutton snapper (Lutjanus analis), also called king snapper, swims in the waters from Massachusetts toward Brazil. The waters of Southern Florida, including the Bahamas, house more of these snappers than elsewhere. Anglers can catch mutton snappers both inshore and off using a variety of baits.

The fish is very similar looking to the lane snapper, with the main difference being the anal fin's pointed shape. Mutton snappers grow up to 2-1/2 feet long and have a distinctive bluish line running from snout to eye. Known to be finicky eaters, check with the locals to see what they use for bait.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Spinning rod and reel
  • Monofilament
  • Hooks
  • Split shot
  • Barrel weight
  • Leader line
  • Swivel
  • Chum
  • Chum bag
  • Pinfish
  • Shrimp
  • Ballyhoo
  • Squid
  • Speedo mackerel
Step 1
Rig a 6-foot spinning rod and reel with 10-pound test monofilament when fishing for mutton snapper in clear and shallow water. Use a number 4 short-shank hook and a small weight, such as split shot or barrel. Select a line color that blends into the local waters, as the fish is temperamental and a wary feeder.
Step 2
Rig the rod with 20- to 30-pound test and a hook large enough to hold your bait, when fishing for mutton snapper in deep waters or anchored. Use 80-pound leader line only if the bait is quite large and 20- to 40-pound leader line for live, smaller bait such as pilchard. Attach the hook, a 1- to 3-ounce barrel weight to the leader line, and then attach the leader to the fishing line using a swivel.
Step 3
Hold the rod in your hand, keeping it as steady as possible when you aren't drifting. This keeps the sinker in its place on the bottom without moving from place to place, giving you a better chance to get muttons to bite.
Step 4
Catch mutton snapper by drift fishing when currents are slow. Use a standard rod setup with a 1-oz. barrel weight slipped onto the line above the hook. This allows the bait to free drift through the top of the water, attracting the fish.
Step 5
Chum the water before fishing for mutton snappers. When fishing deep, place a handful of sand in the chum bag to weigh it down and let it sink into the water, pulling it up and down two to three times. This allows the chum enough time to drift through the area attracting the fish.
Step 6
Rig your hook with fresh, live bait for best results in luring mutton snappers. Pinfish, shrimp, ballyhoo, squid and speedo mackerel all work well in attracting the snapper.
Step 7
Fish patch reefs where snappers congregate. Cool weather and cloudy water conditions usually produce good results, as muttons are not as wary. Cast your bait on the outside perimeter of the reef where the fish swims.

Tips & Warnings

Check the local fishing regulations pertaining to bag limit and license requirements.

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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