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Do you want to learn how to catch yellowtail snapper? Would you like to learn fishing tips that will let you take a bucketful of yellowtail snapper home? Would you like to learn how to catch yellowtail snapper in the Florida Keys?
Yellowtail snapper is fished all year round and this constant fishing pressure can make it challenging sometimes to catch yellowtails. In this article, we share information about successfully fishing for yellowtails, as well as the fishing tackle to use, the baits, and more fishing information to have enough yellowtails for dinner.
Table of Contents
How To Catch Yellowtail Snapper
Yellowtail snapper is a small reef fish found from the Atlantic coast of Massachusetts, through Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Brazil. You can find yellowtails as deep as 300 feet in coastal waters. There are many fishing techniques that are used by anglers to catch yellowtails. Additionally, there are a number of factors to affect fishing for yellowtails especially in the Florida Keys.
Most anglers use a chum bag filled with pieces of fish to attract yellowtails. Usually, when the boat is anchored, anglers will place the chum bags out on the side of the boat. After a waiting period of about 15 minutes, allowing the chum to settle in the water and get yellowtails comfortable, then they will put a line in the water.
One of the factors that affect fishing for yellowtails, is the clarity of the water or the lack thereof. When you are learning how to catch yellowtail snapper, remember this: when the water is cloudy and rough, that is the best scenario for fishing yellowtails.
It will be more challenging to catch yellowtails on a clear and calm day when the fish can clearly see the fishing line. Yellowtail snapper has very good eyesight. They are fished all year and have come to equate the fishing line to danger. If they see the fishing line when the water is calm and clear, it will be more difficult to get them to bite.
On the other hand, if it is turbulent weather with strong winds and the water is rough and cloudy, fish usually will go into a feeding frenzy and it will be more difficult for them to clearly see the fishing line. This will make it easier to catch yellowtail snappers. When learning how to catch yellowtail snapper, this is one important fishing tip to remember.
Baitcasting is another popular fishing method used by anglers to catch yellowtail snappers. With baitcasting, you get your bait onto your hook and get your line into the water. When you feel a tug on the line, wait a little and then set the hook and reel in the catch.
3. Drift Fishing
Drift fishing is also used by anglers when fishing for yellowtail snapper. With the chum bags in the water and the bait at the back of the boat, anglers will let the water current slowly move the boat and the bait to attract yellowtails and elicit bites.
How to Make Chum For Fishing
Making chum for fishing is not a difficult process. Use the fish baitfish that fish you want to catch always eat. Cut them into chunks and strips to easily get the liquid to flow into the water and permeate it. This will get to the fish you want to target and they will come to the chum for the bait to eat.
Best Bait For Yellowtail Snapper
- Live Shrimp
Live shrimp is arguably the best bait for yellowtail snapper.
Ballyhoo also works well as bait for catching yellowtail snapper.
Bonito is also used as bait for yellowtail snapper. Anglers usually cut them into pieces or chunks to use as bait.
Squid is also used as bait by anglers who will cut it into pieces to work well for yellowtail snapper fishing.
5. Dead Glass Minnows
Minnows are also good bait when fishing for yellowtail snapper. To setup a yellowtail snapper rig, you can thread the point of the hook through one eye of the minnow and out its chin to hide the hook.
Sardines also get the job done and is often used frozen by anglers
Yellowtail Snapper Tackle Setup
A light tackle will get the job done when learning how to catch yellowtail snapper. A 6 to 7-foot medium action spinning rod spooled with a 12- to 15-pound test line and a 15- or 20-pound fluorocarbon leader will work. Additionally, a number 1 or 2 hooks will work well.
How To Catch Yellowtail Snapper In the Florida Keys
The yellowtail snapper is one of the popular fishes to target in the Florida Keys. They can be easily found and are tasty fish for eating. When fishing for yellowtails in the Florida Keys, there are some factors that have to be taken into consideration.
The wind direction, current, clarity of the water, and sunlight. Believe it or not: it is better to fish for yellowtails during rough and turbulent weather when the water will be rough and cloudy. This makes it easier to cast multiple lines into the water as it will be more difficult for yellowtail snappers to see the lines.
Yellowtails have good eyesight and will easily see the fishing line on a calm and clear day with clear and calm waters. Anglers use a clear 12 to 15-pound fluorocarbon leader on clear and calm days and drop one line at a time. Yellowtails are fished all year round and they have learned to associate the fishing line with danger. They will be skittish and reluctant to bite if they see the fishing line.
Most anglers use chum bags when fishing for yellowtails in the Florida Keys. They usually drop the chum bags into the water and wait for about 15 minutes for the fish to be comfortable and eat the fish pieces from the chum bag. After this period, when they are not skittish, then anglers will drop their lines to target the yellowtails. The yellowtail snapper size limit In Florida is 12 inches
Yellowtail Snapper Fishing Tips
- The calmness and clarity of the water play a crucial role when fishing for yellowtail snapper. If it is a calm day and the water is calm and clear, it will be more difficult to catch yellowtail snappers as they will easily see the fishing line with their very good eyesight.
2. If the day is windy and rough, the weather will also be rough and may be cloudy. This makes it easier to catch yellowtails as they won’t easily see the fishing line. This presents the opportunity to put many fishing lines in the water to catch yellowtails.
3. Anglers use chum bags filled with fish and fish parts to attract yellowtails. After throwing the chum bags into the water, anglers will wait for about 15 minutes to get the fish comfortable before putting fishing lines in the water.
4. A clear 12-15 pound fluorocarbon leader is best when fishing for yellowtail snapper.
5. The best scenario is for the chum slick to travel behind the boat as anglers will fish off the back of the boat.
6. Anglers use an oatball to target yellowtails when fishing in deep waters. They will use rolled oats and saltwater to make an oatball that is used to cover the filet.
7. Fishing for yellowtail snapper during the winter is one of the best times because there are higher winds, bigger waves, and overcast skies that will make the water rough and cloudy. Cloudy water will make it harder for the fish to see your lines thereby allowing you to put more lines in the water.
8. Always point your tip toward the water and free-spool the fishing line allowing the bait to flow naturally in the current at the speed of the chum.
9. Bring a landing net when fishing for yellowtail snappers to ensure “flags” don’t escape when you are reeling them in. “Flags” is the term anglers use to refer to larger than regular-sized yellowtails. Their forked tails resemble flags fluttering in the breeze. The smaller yellowtail snappers are called “tails”.
10. If in the process of reeling a hooked yellowtail into the boat, it gets chopped in half by a barracuda, don’t throw the carcass back into the water. Other fish will get spooked by the bloody remains and then they will stop biting.
11. A 6 to 7-foot medium action spinning rod spooled with a 12- to 15-pound test line and 15- or 20-pound fluorocarbon leader will work.
The Bottom Line
Yellowtail snappers are one of the most sought-after fish in the Florida Keys and other areas on the Atlantic coast all the way down to Brazil. Why? They are tasty, plentiful, and relatively easy to catch.
Chumming, drift fishing, baitcasting, still fishing, and fly fishing are some of the fishing methods that can be used when learning how to catch yellowtail snapper.
In this article, we discussed the fishing methods, the bait, and lures, the yellowtail tackle setup, as well as shared fishing tips to help you take more of this delicious fish home for dinner. If you catch red snapper and mangrove snappers, you may want to read how to catch red snapper, how to catch lane snapper, how to catch mutton snapper, how to catch vermillion snapper, and how to catch mangrove snapper.