Why is mangrove snapper so good to eat? What are some great eating tips for keeping this saltwater fish alive and kicking during those long afternoons when you can’t find any bites in your local area? How do I know whether or not it’s summer time when I’m looking at a mangrove snapper bite and getting excited about possible eating opportunities? It’s easy to answer all three questions when you learn what makes mangrove snapper so delicious to eat.
Mangrove snapper are ranked in the top five most popular eating fish for inshore and offshore anglers. They have distinctive red and black stripes down their sides, contrasting strongly with the light grayish green color of the back. Typically, mangrove snapper will be found on flats, inshores, or reefs, but occasionally you will see one end on the edge of a wooded area or weedbed. Because of its scavenger behavior, mangrove snapper feed by picking bugs or worms off of algae, weeds, and other floating vegetation. When a fish comes across a tasty morsel, it will go for the kill.
Mangrove snapper fish are typically found in shallow water and are best consumed when they are small. Unfortunately, there isn’t a large enough population of these versatile saltwater fish in southeastern Florida to support large populations of big, predatory fish that enjoy hunting mangrove snapper. This means that these fish are caught and sent back every year to the Gulf. At this point in their lives, the young fry don’t have the fat content in their bodies to withstand the long journeys back to the ocean’s depths. As such, they quickly become plump and weak. Many have been known to die before even making it back to their first landing site.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy mangrove snapper is to use a free diver hunt to lure them in. Typically, you’ll find the fish cruising along the surface of the coastal waters of southeast Florida. As they chase down bait, the striking fish hit the water with propelling spines to propel itself into the fray. A great place to use a free diver hunt is along stretches of low lying, clear tributaries, such as those found in theManatee River, St Johns River, or Bayou of Saint Augustine. These mangrove beds are prime places for prolific snapper to build their nests.
Once you have established where you’ll find the biggest populations of snappers, you’ll need to learn how to effectively capture them using a treble hook or wire line. These baits can be retrieved with a rod over your head. Some types of bait also work well when retrieved through the mouth, but there are different mouth configurations with different types of fish in mind. Yellowtail snapper tastes best with a sharp treble hook, while others may prefer to go for a slip-bobber. If you are uncertain which type would work best, test a few of the various types of bait on the water by dangling the bait from your finger.
Another favorite way to catch small fish such as the mangrove snapper is to fry them up in batter. To do this, prepare a batter that contains one tablespoon of each type of bait and three tablespoons of salt. Lightly fry the fish with the bait, cover it with the salt mixture and allow it to remain in a pot over indirect heat for about an hour. This will cause the batter to loosen the scales on the body of the fish, and will allow it to become light and crispy. Serve this batter with steamed white rice for a healthy, easy meal.
Mangrove snapper bites can also be cooked with homemade relish. This can be accomplished using half a pound of butter, two cups of tomatoes, a quarter pound of celery, and one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. Bring all this to a boil over low heat, until the sauce is a smooth paste, then remove from heat. Add a clove of garlic and let it cool slightly, then add salt and pepper to taste, mix, and enjoy a healthy Mangrove seafood eating experience.
These are only some of the many Mangrove snapper recipes that you can try out when you go out fishing in the Mangrove. Of course, you can always stop at your favorite Mangrove restaurant for the night away from the rig. Many of the top Mangrove restaurants feature multiple entrees and delicacies from around the world. You can find a top ten list of the top Mangrove restaurants here. Treat yourself today!