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Is Mangrove Snapper Good to Eat? Read This First

The Mangrove Snapper is also commonly known as a Gray Snapper. They are prevalent in the Western Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. Mangrove Snapper don’t grow very big and are considered to be a small to medium-sized species. They are often targeted by recreational fishermen, but is Mangrove Snapper good to eat?

The short answer is yes, Mangrove Snapper is good to eat. Mangrove Snapper consistently ranks as one of the most delicious fish to eat. 

They are highly sought after by recreational fishermen for good reason. The flesh is versatile and can be broiled, baked, smoked, grilled, fried, and deep-fried. The delicate meat is of a firm and lean texture and is white with a pink tint.

The pink tint is a result of its red skin. The delicious flavor can be described as mild, fresh, and sweet. They taste very similar to Tripletail, Cubera Snapper, Mutton Snapper, or Striped Bass.

Keep reading to learn more about Mangrove Snapper.

How Do You Catch Mangrove Snapper?

Mangrove Snappers aren’t fussy eaters and are therefore relatively easy to target. They can be targeted using live bait, dead baits, and artificial lures. Check out our guide on the best baits for Mangrove Snapper to learn more.

The most effective technique is the “sliding” technique. This involves a sliding sinker rig that is fished close to the bottom. It is recommended to use a lighter tackle like a 50lb swivel and a smaller-sized hook that still allows you to apply some pulling pressure.

Mangrove Snappers are highly intelligent, and attention to detail is key. Pay attention to the size of your tag end, and be on the lookout for any abrasion or dirt on your line. Bait presentation and leader length are extremely important.

What is The Best Bait for Mangrove Snapper?

Mangrove Snapper

There are numerous types of bait that work really well for Mangrove Snapper. Live baits like grunts, pinfish, pilchards, and cigar minnows are perfect. When targeting this species, try using smaller-sized live baits then you normally would.

If the bait is too big, the Snapper will show interest without attacking. They might even follow your bait but turn away at the last second. If you witness this type of behavior, it is an excellent indicator that your bait is too big. 

When using dead bait, there are also numerous options. The most popular dead bait is undoubtedly grunt plugs. They are not only great for Mangrove Snapper but most types of Snapper. Pilchards, cigar minnows, and pinfish are other great dead baits you should try.

How Do You Clean Mangrove Snapper?

Now that you have successfully caught a Mangrove Snapper, it is time to clean and fillet the delicious fish. Mangrove Snapper is good to eat, but only if you clean it first!

The first thing you need to do is to scale the fish. Ensure that your filleting knife is sharp and there is sufficient fresh water to clean your workstation, hands, and knife regularly.

Instructions and Tips

  • Scaling the fish is really simple. Grab the fish by the head with your weaker hand and scale down towards the tail, working against the grain. Scale both sides and the belly. When done, rinse with fresh water to remove any loose scales that are sticking to the fish.
  • Make an incision from the bottom of the head down to the anal cavity. It is important not to make this cut too deep as you may puncture the intestines.
  • Remove the entrails using your hand and a spoon. Open the cavity and pull the organs out. Use a spoon to remove any organs that might have stayed behind. Rinse well with fresh water to remove the blood and loose flesh.
  • Make an incision along the spine from the tail up to the head. This incision should be deep enough that you feel the spine against your blade.
  • Starting by the head, make 90-degree angles cut towards the tail, constantly feeling for the spine.

Filleting Mangrove Snapper

  • Now remove your tasty fillet by gently cutting along the backbone. Try not to leave any flesh behind.
  • Turn the fish over and repeat this simple process.
  • Remove belly flap, ribcage, and any small bones that might be in the fillet, you can use your hands, but sometimes a set of pliers might be needed. Pick the bones in the same direction that they are sticking out.
  • The last order of business is removing the skin. This can be done with a large boning knife. Make a tiny incision between the skin and the flesh, and using a hand-towel, gently pull the skin from the flesh. While you are gently pulling, use a small paring knife to help you remove the skin from the flesh. This is a delicate step after a long day. Take your time and be gentle.  

Delicious Mangrove Snapper Recipes

Underwater Mangrove snapper

Fried Mangrove Snapper with a Garlic and Citrus Sauce

This is a fantastic recipe that really enhances the flavor of the Mangrove Snapper. This recipe makes 1 serving and takes around 45 minutes to prepare and cook.


  • 1 x Fresh Mangrove Snapper Fillet
  • ½ x cup of Cornmeal
  • ½ x cup of Flour
  • ½ x cup of Water
  • 1 x cup of freshly squeezed Orange Juice
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Citrus Rice
  • 1 x teaspoon of Garlic Powder
  • ½ x teaspoon of Black Pepper
  • 1 x teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 x bowl of Ice Water
  • 1 x teaspoon of Orange Zest
  • 1 x tablespoon of Unsalted Butter
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Orange Peels to Garnish


  1. Clean your fillet with fresh water and pat dry with a paper towel. Fill a medium-sized mixing bowl with ice water.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add black pepper, garlic powder, cajun seasoning, Flour, and Cornmeal. Mix thoroughly to create your seasoning and place on a large plate
  3. Bring a medium-sized skillet to a high-heat and add olive oil.
  4. Dip your Mangrove Snapper Fillet in the ice water and then coat both sides evenly with seasoning.
  5. Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Place on paper towel and set aside.
  6. Rinse the rice at least three times. Add to a pot along with orange juice, garlic powder, and butter. Cook the rice for 20 minutes or until cooked and set aside for 10 minutes.
  7. Place the rice in a bowl or on a plate, add orange zest and fresh parsley.
  8. Place the mangrove Snapper fillet on top of the rice and garnish it with orange peels.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Grilled Mangrove Snapper with White Wine and Capers


  • 4 x Fresh Mangrove Snapper Fillets
  • 1 x tablespoon of White Wine
  • 1 x Lemon
  • ½ x cup of Unsalted Butter
  • 1 x tablespoon of Capers
  • Dusting Flour


  1. Bring a large skillet to medium-high heat, melt the butter.
  2. Coat the Mangrove Snapper Fillets with Flour and place on to the skillet.
  3. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through and crispy on the edges.
  4. Plate fish and drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  5. Spoon Capers over the fillets.
  6. Serve and enjoy.

Whole Smoked Mangrove Snapper with Garlic and Lime

Mangrove snapper fish underwater

This is another fantastic way to enjoy your mangrove Snapper. It takes 15 minutes to prepare and 45 minutes to smoke. This recipe makes 4 servings

Before you begin your preparation, set your smoker to 250degrees. Cherry or Alder smoking wood is great for Snapper.


  • 1 x whole large Mangrove Snapper, de-scaled and cleaned
  • 2 x cloves of Garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1 x Lime, thinly sliced
  • 1 x Lemon, thinly chopped
  • 1 x small bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 x tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 x teaspoons of Sea Salt
  • 2 x teaspoons of ground Black Pepper


  1. Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the insides of the cavity. Add salt, Garlic, and pepper and evenly coat the cavity.
  2. Layer the cavity evenly with slices of fresh Lemon and Lime, save a few slices for garnish.
  3. Place the whole Mangrove Snapper on a frog mat and place in the smoker for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your Mangrove Snapper.
  4. The flesh should come off cleanly but be on the lookout for any small bones.
  5. Garnish with remaining slices and lime.
  6. Serve and enjoy.

More on Mangrove Snapper

This species is generally grayish-red in color but can change to a beautiful copper-red color. They can be identified by the distinct dark stripe that runs along with the eyes. Juvenile Mangrove Snappers are often confused with the prized Cubera Snapper. The main difference is the tooth pattern inside the mouth.

Mangrove Snapper feeds on various types of smaller fish and crustaceans. They are opportunist, ambush hunters but will actively pursue prey should they come close enough. Mangrove Snapper are systematic and intelligent hunters.

Mangrove Snapper can be found in estuaries, bays, canals, grass flats, and mangroves. They can usually be found patrolling reefs, structures, debris, and shipwrecks.

Mangrove Snapper are most commonly found at depths of 160ft (50m) but can achieve depths of 500ft. They can inhabit most environments, including brackish water and fresh water. 


That about wraps it up! In summary: mangrove snapper is considered to be excellent table fare, and they are consistently rated as one of the tastiest fish to eat.

The delicate meat is of a firm and lean texture and is white with a pink tint. The pink tint is a result of its red skin. The delicious flavor can be described as mild, fresh, and sweet. They are highly sought after by recreational fishermen for good reason.

The flesh is versatile and can be broiled, baked, smoked, grilled, fried, and deep-fried. We hope you enjoyed this article on if Mangrove Snapper is good to eat.

Happy Hunting!


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