Game Fishing > Snapper family, Lutianidae > Dog snapper

Dog snapper

Dog snapperThe dog snapper is very similar in shape to the red snapper, but is much smaller and of different coloration. It was named jocu by Bloch, in 1801, from Parra's description, in 1787, jocu being the Cuban name of the fish. It is called dog snapper, owing to its large canine teeth.

Its range extends from the South Atlantic coast to Brazil. It is abundant along the Florida Keys, and very rarely strays along the Atlantic coast northward, but has been taken on the Massachusetts coast in summer. It has a robust, somewhat compressed body, its depth a third of its length, and the back elevated over the shoulder. Its head is large, somewhat longer than the depth of the body, with a straight profile and a rather long and pointed snout.

The ground color of the body is dull red or coppery, dark olivaceous or bluish on the back, with about a dozen lighter-colored vertical stripes across the body; the cheeks and gill-covers are red, with a pale area from the eye to the angle of the mouth; there is a row of small, round blue spots from the snout to the angle of the gill-cover, also a bluish or dusky stripe; the upper fins and the caudal fin are mostly orange in color; the lower fins are yellow, and the iris of the eye red.

The dog snapper, like the other snappers, feeds on small fishes and crustaceans. It grows to a foot in length and to a pound or two in weight. It is a good food-fish, selling readily in the markets. It is quite gamy and voracious, and with light tackle is worthy of the angler's skill. Hooks on gut snells, and sea-crawfish, or a small minnow, are good baits.