Snapper: A Very Edible Fish

Filed in Gather Food Essential by on July 21, 2006 0 Comments

Snapper: A Very Edible Fish

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Among the most recognizable & well known fish in the world are the snappers. The red snapper is a delicacy that is know everywhere as a delicious fish. Many snapper varieties abound in Florida waters, both in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the Atlantic coastal waters.

Snappers all belong to the Family: Lutjanidae. Usually snappers are colorful fish with bold colors & markings.

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Red Snapper
Lutjanus campechanus
 
These fish are a pinkish red all over their entire body. Their bottom belly is white. Identifiable by their long triangular snout & sharply pointed anal fin.

Red snappers are usually found on the continental shelf & are more plentiful off the panhandle than in south or middle Florida.

These fish average between 8-lbs to 24-lbs with some specimens caught 40+ lbs & above. The Florida Record is at 46 lbs. 8 ozs.

Red snapper juveniles usually can be found over mud or sandy bottoms. These fish are often caught in shrimp trawls. Red snapper adults adults may live more than 20 years & will attain 35-lbs & more in weight. They reach their sexual maturity between age 2 & age 3 & will spawn bewteen June & October.

These fish seek out & feed upon small crabs, shrimp, other crustaceans & small fish. Artificial baits that produce snapper catches are in clude jigs, spoons & spinners.

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Dog Snapper
Lutjanus jocu
 
Dog snapper are a brownish to brownish-grey in color with a definite bronze tinge. They are darker on the top & much lighter on their flanks. Their canine teeth are very sharp with one pair visibly enlarged so as to be visible even when their mouth is closed.  Adults have a pale triangle & a light blue interrupted line that runs below the eyes.

Large adult members of this species are always located over coral, rocks, rocky out-croppings & reefs, Juveniles may be found usually in estuaries, secluded shallow bays & canals.

This hefty snapper can reach 50+ lbs but the adults usally range between 24-lbs to 48-lbs. The Florida Record is currently 62 lbs. 5 ozs.

Size: large snapper, attaining 30 pounds.

They are known to spawn from April thru to October & are a night feeder. They prefer small fish, mollusks, crabs, other crustaceans & will strike a brightly colored artificial bait in the form of a jig or a spinner.


Schoolmaster Snapper
Lutjanus apodus

Schoolmaster snapper are a brownish to brownish-grey in color with a well defined bronze tinge. They are darker on the top & much lighter on their flanks. They have no white triangle under eye & their fins are a bright yellow. Their canine teeth are very sharp with one pair visibly enlarged so as to be visible even when their mouth is closed.  Adults have a pale triangle & a light blue interrupted line that runs below the eyes.

Large adult members of this species are always located over coral, rocks, rocky out-croppings & reefs, Juveniles may be found usually in estuaries, secluded shallow bays & canals.

This hefty snapper can reach 45+ lbs but the adults usally range between 20-lbs to 42-lbs. The Florida Record is currently 53 lbs. 7 ozs.

They are known to spawn from April thru to October & are a night feeder. They prefer small fish, mollusks, crabs, other crustaceans & will strike a brightly colored artificial bait in the form of a jig or a spinner.


Yellowtail Snapper
Lutjanus Ocyurus chrysurus

Yellowtail snapper have upon their backs & the top of their flannks olive to bluish skin with well pronounced yellow spots. Their lower flanks & their bellies have an alternating narrow, longitudinal pink & yellow stripes. They all havea very prominent mid-line yellow stripe beginning at mouth & running to the tail.
Their caudal fins are a bright yellow as is the deeply forked tail.

Juvenile yellowtail snapper are usually found on grassbeds, along jettys & back reefs. Adult yellowtails can be found inshore in river mouths, under bridges, in deeper canals & channels, on rocky outcroppings, rocks beds, man-made reefs & coral reefs. It is not unusual to find them in ship channels or around sandy areas near reefs.

Adults rarely exceeds 30″ in length & 5 lbss in weight. These small snapper usually average between 2-3 lbs with the Florida Record being 7 lbs. 5 ozs.

These snapper spawn in June & July. Yellowtail usually feeds on small fish, small crabs, shrimp & invertebrates.
 

Mangrove Snapper a.k.a. Gray Snapper
Lutjanus griseus

Mangrove snapper are a dark gray to grayish brown with redor orange spots in defined rows along their flankss & a dark horizontal band running from their snout through the eye in the young. They have 2 very conspicuous canine teeth located in the front of upper lip. Their dorsal fins have a dark reddish borders with no dark spots on side underneath dorsal fins.

Juveniles may be found in tidal creeks, mangroves, estuaries, canals & upon grass beds. Adults generally near jettys, piers, rocky outcroppings, man-made reefs, wrecks & upon coral or rocky reefs.

These fish average between 4-6 lbs inshore & 8-2 lbs offshore. The current Florida Record is 16 lbs. 8 ozs.

Mangrove snapper spawn June through August.

These delicous fish feed upon crustaceans, small crabs, small fish & have been known to take cut-bait.


Mahogany Snapper
Lutjanus mahogoni
 
These colorful snapper are color graysh-olive with a reddish tinge with a very conspicuous dark spot about the size of an eye just below the soft dorsal fin. They a large eye & the caudal fin is bright red.
lower margin of the preopercle has prominent spur with strong and sharp serrations.

These fish can be found in clear, highly saline water, usually over reefs, rocky outcroppings or wrecks.

Mahogany snapper are a relatively small snapper running upto common to 15″ in length averaging between 2-4lbs in weight.

They are night feeders with a diet of smaller fishes, shrimp & small crabs.
 

Queen Snapper
Etelis oculatus

This colorful snapper is bright red on their back & upper flanks with a silvery body. They are long & slender, torpedo-shaped fish with adorsal fin that is rather distinctly notched. They have large eyes & a deeply forked caudal fin.

Usually found offshore over rocky reefs of the continental shelf in depths of up to 450 feet. Younger fish suspend at mid-depths between 50 to 200 feet.

A smaller species of snapper these fish usually are less than 20″ in length & not usually over 16 lbs.


Silk Snapper
Lutjanus vivanus
 
Silks have tops & upper flanks that are a pinkish red that shades to silver on the lower flannks with wavy yellow lines. Their pectoral fins are a pale yellow & the back edge of the caudal fin bweing blackish.

Usually found offshore over rocky ledges in very deep water over 75 feet in depth. They are most common in south Florida waters.

These smaller snapper average 4-6 lbs in weight.


Mutton Snapper
Lutjanus analis
 
Mutton snapper are in color an olive green on top & upper flanks with all fins below the lateral line having defined reddish tinge. They have bright blue line below their eyes that follows the contour of operculum & an anal fin that is well pointed.

These snapper are an inshore species found on grassbeds, mangroves, oyster bars, estuaries, canals & bridges. Some larger adults are occasionally found on offshore reefs & rocky out-cropings.

These fish average between 12 to 18 lbs with a 15-lb average weight but specimens over 25 lbs are not uncommon. The current Florida Record is 27 lbs. 6 ozs.

Mutton snapper feed upon small fish, crustaceans, snails & small crabs.

The mutton snapper spawns in July thru August.
 

Blackfin Snapper
Lutjanus buccanella
 
This colorful snapper is red with yellow caudal, anal & pelvic fins. They sport a distinctive & very prominent black curved blotch at the base of their pectoral fins which gioves this fish its name.

Usually found offshoreclose to the continental shelf but sometiems in deeper shipping channels as well.

These fish average 20-30 lbs in weight with a length avergaing 30+”.
 

Vermilion Snapper
Lutjanus Rhomboplites aurorubens
 
Vermillion snapper are a deeper red over their entire body with a series of short, irregular lines on along the flanks combined with diagonal blue lines that are formed by spots on the scales above the lateral line. Males usually but not always are seen with yellow streaks below the lateral line. Large canine teeth are absent in this snapper.

Usually these fish are found in 40 to 100 foot depths offshore aover rocks, wrecks, rocky out-croppings & reefs.

They run in size between 2-8 lbs. with some specimens being caught at 10+ lbs.
Vermillion snapper spawn April to September.

         ===========SNAPPER RECIPES==========

Gulfside Grilled Red Snapper
Categrories: Seafood, Southern, Maindish
Yield: 4 servings
 
8 ea Snapper fillets
1/4 lb Butter
1 ea Onion chopped
1 ts Tabasco sauce
2 ea Cloves garlic minced
2 ea Limes juice of
2 TB Capers
3 Tb Spicy mustard
Salt & pepper to taste

Melt butter in a sauce pan.
Add onion & saute until transluscent.
Now add garlic, lime juice, mustard, Tabasco sauce, salt & pepper.
Place fish fillets on grill turning them frequently while brushing liberally with sauce.
Fish is done when inner most area is white and flaky.

ORIGIN:  Gulfside Grill, Indian Rocks Beach-FL, crica 1982

Becky’s Florida Red Snapper
Categories: Seafood, Maindish
Yield: 6 Servings
 
      2 lb Red snapper fillets
    1/4 c  Grated onion
      2 tb Orange juice
      2 tb Lemon juice
      2 ts Grated orange rind
    1/2 ts Salt
    1/8 ts Nutmeg
 
Thaw fillets if frozen. 
Cut fish into 6 portions. 
Place in a single layer, skin side down,  in a well-greased baking dish,  12″x8″x2″.
Combine onion, orange and lemon juice, orange rind & salt.
Pour over fish then cover & place in refrigerator to marinate 30-60 mins.
Sprinkle fish with nutmeg & pepper.
Bake in a pre-heated 350 deg-F oven for 25-30 mins. until fish flakes easily when tested with fork.
Serve with a sald & rice.

ORIGIN: Becky Gallater, Sarasota-FL, circa 1990

Leona’s Baked Stuffed Red Snapper
Categories: Southern, Seafood
Yield: 10 Servings
 
    1/4 c  Celery,chopped
      2 tb Butter or margarine
      2 tb Parsley,chopped
      6 ea Bread slices soaked in water
    1/8 ts Thyme
    1/8 ts Sage
      2 tb Tomato,chopped
      6 lb  Red snapper cleaned
-Red Snapper Sauce-
    3/4 c  Peanut oil
      3 tb Butter or margarine melted
      2 tb Lemon juice
      1 ts Salt
      3 tb Worcestershire sauce
   1/2 ts Tabasco sauce
 
Saute celery in butter until soft.
Add remaining ingredients except fish & sauce.
Blend well, then stuff into cavity of fish.
Pin cavity closed or secure with toothpicks.
Bake uncovered in buttered ovenproof serving dish in pre-heated 350 deg-F. oven  for 1 hr.
Baste with sauce every 10 mins.

Red Snapper Sauce: 
Combine all ingredients & use liberally.

ORIGIN: Leona Campbell, Ruskin-FL, crica 1988

Cajun Stuffed Snapper
Categories: Seafood, Cajun, Ethnic, Southern
Yield: 8 Servings
 
      1 ea Red snapper 4-5 lb fish
    1/8 lb Butter
      1 ea Lime or lemon
      6 ea Bacon strips
      1 ts Black pepper
    1/4 ts Oregano
    1/4 ts Dill
    1/2 ts Sweet basil
    1/2 ts Paprika
    1/2 ts Cayenne flakes
      1 ts Balsamic vinegar
-Stuffing Ingredients-
      1 ea Onion med. chopped
      2 ea Eggs hardboiled
      2 tb Butter
    1/4 ts White pepper
    1/2 c  Celery chopped
      2 c  Cornbread dry crumbled
 Hot water as needed
      3 tb Green Bell pepper chopped
 
Pre-heat your oevn to 350 deg-F.
Spray a baking dish with Pam or wipe with olive oil.
Cut slits into one side of the fish and stick in
  the bacon strips.
Melt the butter and mix well with the lemon, and
  seasonings.
Brush the fish on both sides weith this mix and inside as
  well.
Place the fish in the oven and bake for 15 mins.

STUFFING:
Melt butter, add celery, onion, Green pepper & seasonings then saute’ until onions become transluscent.
In a bowl mix cornbread & chopped hardboiled eggs.
Add hot water & mix well.
Now add butter mix & combine completely.
Remove fish from oven & stuff with cornbread mix.
Raised oven temp of 350 deg-F.
Return to fish oven for 30 mins. 

ORIGIN: Tante Jeanne Devereaux, Lafayette, La. circa 1980
 
Sources:

http://indian-river.fl.us/fishing/fish/snapverm.html
http://indian-river.fl.us/fishing/fish/snapblac.html

http://indian-river.fl.us/fishing/fish/snapmutt.html
http://indian-river.fl.us/fishing/fish/snapsilk.html
http://indian-river.fl.us/fishing/fish/snapdog.html
http://www.landbigfish.com/fish/fish.cfm?ID=164
http://www.thejump.net/fishlist/redsnapper.htm
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov
http://www.fisheries.org
http://www.flseagrant.org/program_areas/fisheries/fisheries_fp.htm
http://www.flseagrant.org/program_areas/fisheries/fisheries_fp.ht
http://floridafisheries.com http://floridafisheries.com
http://floridafisheries.com/updates/ha41-lunk.html
http://www.usfederal.com/fishfinder/_disc4/000003cb.htm

Illustrations: Diane Rome Peebles

Copyright © 2006-2008 Donald R Houston, PhD. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author’s consent.

About the Author ()

Viet Nam vet with the usual baggage but mine is now packed away. Public health specialist & medical anthropologist have worked all over the globe, most recent work since 1988 in the former Soviet Union (now the CIS/NIS) & based out of Flo

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