Game Fishing > Snapper family, Lutianidae > Red snapper

Red snapper

Red snapperThe red snapper was named aya by Bloch, in 1790, that being the Portuguese name for it in Brazil, according to Marcgrave. It was described by Goode and Bean as a new species, in 1878, and named blackfordi, in honor of Eugene G. Blackford, of New York, in consideration of his eminent services and interest in fishculture.

The red snapper, while not a game-fish, is one of the best known of Florida fishes, inasmuch as it is shipped all over the country as a good dinner fish, its fine, firm flesh. It is especially abundant in the Gulf of Mexico, in water from ten to fifty fathoms deep, on the "snapper banks," from ten to fifty miles offshore, and thence south to Brazil, occasionally straying north on the Atlantic coast to Long Island.

The depth of its body is a little more than a third of its length, being rather deep and compressed, the back elevated and regularly arched from the eye to the tail. The head is large, its length equal to the depth of the body, with a pointed snout, large mouth, and straight profile.

The color of the red snapper is a uniform roseĀ­red, paler on the throat; fins all red, the vertical fins bordered with dusky blue; there is a dark blotch under the front of the soft portion of the dorsal fin, except in the oldest and largest fish; the iris of the eye is scarlet.

The red snapper, being a deep-water fish, is seldom found along the shores, and is of no importance to the angler. It is a bottom fish, feeding in company with the large groupers on small fishes and crustaceans. It grows to twenty or thirty pounds, but its usual size is from five to ten pounds.It spawns in summer.

The commercial fishing for the red snapper is done on the "snapper banks" in very deep water. Strong handlines and codfish hooks are used, with cut bait. By the time the fish is brought to the surface from the bottom it is almost exhausted, and would afford no sport to the angler. The bringing of the fish from depths where the pressure of the water is so great, to the surface, where it is comparatively so much less, causes the fish to swell up, and the air-bladder to be so filled that the fish would float.