Red Snapper

Appearance: Color pinkish red over entire body, whitish below. Long triangular snout. Anal fin is sharply pointed. No dark lateral spot. Red eye.

Habitat: Juvenile red snapper occur over sandy or mud bottoms. Sexual maturity is attained at age 2.

Behavior: Red snapper feed on crustaceans and fish.

State Record: 46 lb 8 oz, caught near Destin.

Fishing Tips and Facts: Snappers will take soft-bodied jigs, buck-tails and spoons.

Additional Information: Adult red snapper may live more than 20 years and attain 35 pounds or more.

Sheepshead

Description: Basic silvery color, with 5 or 6 distinct vertical black bars on sides, not always the same on both sides; prominent teeth, including incisors, molars, and rounded grinders; no barbels on lower jaw; strong and sharp spines on dorsal and anal fins.

Where Found: Inshore around oyster bars, seawalls and in tidal creeks; moves nearshore in late winter and early spring for spawning, gathering over rocks, artificial reefs, and around navigation markers.

Size: Inshore, 1 to 2 pounds; offshore, common to 8 pounds.

Remarks: Feeds on mollusks and crustaceans such as fiddler crabs and barnacles; famed nibblers, prompting the saying that “anglers must strike just before they bite”.

Florida Record: 15 pounds, 2 ounces.

Red Fish

Description: Chin without barbels; copper-bronze body, lighter shade in clear waters; one to many spots at base of tail (rarely no spots); mouth horizontal and opening downward; scales large.

Similar Fish: Black drum, Pogonias cromis.

Where Found: Juveniles are an inshore fish, migrating out of the estuaries at about 30 inches (4 years) and joining the spawning population offshore.

Size: Common to 20 pounds.

Snook

Description: Distinct black lateral line; high,divided dorsal fin; sloping forehead; large mouth, protruding lower jaw; grows much larger than other snooks; pelvic fin yellow.

Where Found: From central Florida south, usually INSHORE in coastal and brackish waters, along mangrove shorelines, seawalls, and bridges; also on reefs and pilings.

Size: Most catches 5 to 8 pounds.

Jack Crevalle

Description: Color bluish-green to greenish-gold back and silvery or yellowish belly; soft dorsal and anal fins almost identical in size; prominent black spot on operculum (gill cover); black spot at the base of each pectoral fin; no scales on throat.

Where Found: Common to both inshore waters and the open sea.

Size: Usually 3 to 5 pounds.

Remarks: Tolerates a wide range of salinities; schools corner a pod of baitfish at the surface and feed with commotion that can be seen for great distances; feeds mainly on small fish; peak spawning occurs offshore from March through September.