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Snapper (Yellowtail)

Yellowtail Snapper

Yellowtail Snapper are a smaller reef fish found in the western Atlantic from Florida down to Brazil.  They are a favorite food fish throughout the Caribbean.  They rarely exceed 5lbs but are often abundant and are a good fish to use to introduce kids to fishing.  They put up a strong fight for their size using their disproportionately large tail.  They are a schooling fish and can be chummed to the boat in large numbers.  The presence of larger fish such as barracuda and sharks may drive them away.  They have good eyesight and can be difficult to fool with artificial lures.

Large Yellowtails are called "flags" throughout Florida.  Generally a fish Spinning tackle in the 10lb-20lb class is the way to go for these.  Baitcasting tackle can be difficult to use due to the necessity of casting light baits and letting them free drift with the current.over 18 inches is considered a flag.Find rocky structure in 150ft or less of water start chumming with a block of frozen chum.  Once the fish are attracted to the chum, you can drift back baits or cast small artificials.Cut bait such as ballyhoo, sardines, squid, or shrimp are effective.  The best way to fish is to mostly bury the hook in the bait, then freeline it into the chum slick so that it drifts back with the rest of the chum.  Leave the line in free spool and let the line slowly peel off as the bait drifts back.  If the line starts peeling off faster, a fish has picked it up.  Give it a slow three count and flip the bail and set the hook.  Most big Yellowtail are caught this way.

The best type of rod and reel to use for yellowtail snapper fishing is a spinning rod and spinning reel. One of the best reels that I love to use is the Canyon Reel Saltwater 5000. A spinning reel is perfect for letting line out to free line for yellowtail snapper. The best rod to pair with your reel is a Blackfin spinning reel rod. This will give you enough play in the rod to feel a bit of a yellowtail but also is best to bring in that large mackerel or Barracuda that hits. The line that you place on this reel is important for yellowtails. Because of their keen eyesight, fluorocarbon is a must. 15lb to 20lb fluoro works best for yellowtail snapper. The best bait for yellowtail is cut bait after you have successfully chummed them up from the bottom. Hook size ranges from size 4  to 2/0. Depending on the hook size will determine your bait size. If you are not free lining a hook then anglers often use yellowtail jigs. The last two things you need are a good anchor to post up on a reef and a chum bag to hang a bag of chum off the back.

Always let the chum do its job. It will bring the fish up. Many times anglers grow impatient, but let it work. Not only will you bring up yellowtail from the reef, but you will bring up every different kind of creature as well. It will be in your best interest to have several other rods pre-rigged for big fish that come into your chum slick. A bottom rod is another good idea with a live bait on it for grouper or any other bottom-dwelling fish. As an angler, you must adapt when yellowtail fishing and be ready for anything that bites.

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