The gray snapper, also known as the mangrove snapper, is a highly sought-after species by recreational and commercial fishermen. There are a considerable number of snappers in the family. Over 100 variations have been identified, which makes it challenging for anglers to differentiate between species. Here is what you need to know about the mangrove or gray snapper in Georgia, South Carolina, and Georgia. 

How Do You Identify A Gray Snapper

The mango, short for mangrove, is identifiable by the following characteristics. In the front of the mouth, two prominent canine teeth are visible. Use caution when freeing a lodged hook. 

When it comes to coloration, the body is gray to brown, depending on the habitat. From the top of the fish to the midsection vertically are red dots creating bar patterns. Lastly, the tail is flat. Therefore it is not forked when compared to other varieties in the snapper family. 

What Is The Range Of Gray Snapper

When it comes to range, the mangrove snapper is widely distributed across the east coast of the United States. Within its range includes the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Although uncommon to the north, the mango snapper is caught by anglers in Massachusetts. The fish extends down the east coast through Florida. The most robust populations are on the southern end of the range. 

How Do You Catch Gray Snapper

The mango snapper is a ferocious eater with a vast appetite. Anglers must be prepared because the strength of the bite is capable of ripping the rod and reel out of an unsuspecting person’s hands. 

Inshore Mangrove Snapper Fishing

Unfortunately, the mangrove snapper is not found in the inland waters north of Florida. However, to catch mangos inland, focus on mangrove shorelines hence the name, pilings, and other underwater structures. 

Cast light action rods spooled with twelve-pound fishing line. Tie a 2/0 hook beneath an egg sinker and tip the hook with squid, shrimp, cut fish, or live mullet. Allow the bait to rest until the snapper strikes.

Offshore Mangrove Snapper Fishing

The mangrove snapper is widely distributed across offshore reefs and wrecks. Focus on hard bottoms where mango snapper gather in schools. Drop lead heavy enough to hold bottom and tip hooks with chuncks of bonito, barracuda, ballyhoo, or frozen shrimp. Snags are common therefore bring extra tackle to combat lost gear. 

How Big Does A Gray Snapper Grow

The mango is on the smaller end of the size spectrum compared to other snappers in the family. 

Considering the fish caught both inshore and offshore, the sizes vary based on the habitat. While not always the case, inshore gray snapper along mangrove-lined shores tend to be smaller in size. Reef-dwelling mangos are bigger in size. In comparison, the fish is similarly sized to that of a yellowtail snapper

In shallow inland water, expect to catch mangrove snapper ranging between seven and fourteen inches and measuring up to a few pounds. Anglers targeting mangos offshore catch the snapper in the seven to the ten-pound range and exceed twenty-five inches in length. 

Is Gray Snapper Good Eating

When it comes to taste and texture, the fillets of gray snapper are highly regarded. We have had the opportunity to eat a substantial amount of mango snappers.

The taste is most noticeable for the sweetness in combination with fresh flavoring. In regards to texture, the moist white fillets flake with ease into small pieces when cooked by grilling, broiling, baking, or breading and deep-frying.

In addition to superb taste and texture, the fillets of mangrove snapper are highly nutritious. The flesh contains vitamins, minerals and is high in protein while low in fat and cholesterol. 

Are You Heading Out Fishing For Gray Snapper

Remember to saltwater fishing license before heading out on the water fishing in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Unlike Florida, where mango snappers are found inland and offshore, anglers can only catch the snapper species on reefs and wrecks offshore. Lastly, follow the regulations of the state to avoid harvesting fish that are too small and above the bag limit.