Yellow Eyed Red Snapper
Yellow eyed red snapper occur throughout the Western Atlantic from northern South America to North Carolina. The species spawns from spring to late summer and feed on crabs, shrimp and fish.
I catch yellow eyed red snapper by holding stationary in about 300 feet of water, stern into the sea, bumping an engine in reverse every once in awhile to counter the effects of the current. This both holds my position and serves to keep the line strait down and not carried out with the current. Keeping your line straight down is crucial for two reasons, first of all, it eliminates a large catenary or bow in the line enabling you to better feel the fish bite. I find that a lot of my quests have problems feeling the fish bite because of the amount of line thatís out. And it lessens the time and amount of line it takes to get your bait to the bottom. Usually when you got one on it will feel like a small added weight to the line until he gets closer to the surface when you will feel him fight like a cornered pit bull gator in a tiger cage if he has any size. I, on the other hand, can feel when a fish glances in the direction my bait from a distance of up to a half mile away. Iíd teach you that technique but I canít give away all my secrets Ö now can I? To fish this species I attach an eight ounce weight to a four foot leader with two hooks, either #7 or #8 placed two feet apart. Iíve always baited with sardines but stomach contents of a large majority of the yellow eyed red snapper Iíve caught indicate their food is shrimp. Next time, I go after this species Iíll probably bait with shrimp on multiple #4 hooks to see if thatís more successful. (Iíll let you know how it works in next weekís column.)
Just remember once youíve caught one youíre on the spot and its time to start loading the cooler. In short order, your arms may feel like spaghetti noodles though. It does take some sweat and strain to reel these monsters up from 300í.
When fishing yellow eyed red snapper itís not uncommon to catch other species including, king snapper, black snapper amberjack and snowy grouper. Using the methods described here I am able to feed my charter quests the delectable yellow eyed red snapper year round. The last three I caught were salted and dried, to make what is known locally as corned fish. I plan on cooking this corned yellow eyed red snapper in a soup, for a traditional San Pedro Easter meal to enjoy with my family this Easter Sunday. Captain Dilzon Murcia is the project manager for Island Ferry and owner operator of Dilzon Charters, a sport fishing charter business. To catch the fish featured this week, and other large fish, call Dilzon at 620-6118 or drop by the Island Ferry office and schedule your next fishing adventure.