Yellowtail Snapper – Fishing Key West

Yellowtail snapper are a sought after food fish in the Florida Keys. They are common all around the Keys but are primarily fished for on the reef and deep wrecks. Although keepers are caught all over the bigger snapper are primarily caught in deeper water, 40-120 feet. When people fish for yellowtails they usually chum very heavily. It’s not uncommon to go thru chum box every hour or so. Essentially this causes the yellowtails to line up behind the boat; you then drift back small baits to them. Depending on the current and depth of the water, a small jig head or split shot will the help the bait get down. Baits for yellowtails are usually cut fish such as ballyhoo or bonito, shrimp or live pilchards. Yellowtails are often line shy and it pays to use as light line as possible often using a long fluorocarbon leader. Sometimes you will have to drift your bait far out behind the boat before you hit them, so be prepared with a reel that hold a good length of line.

On the deeper wrecks larger yellowtail will often eat whole small to medium sized ballyhoo, and the before mentioned baits.