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 Mangrove Snapper Fishing In Tampa Bay


Mangrove Snapper Fishing In Tampa Bay. The bay area one of the most versatile places I have ever fished. An average day inside the wide bay can consist of Snook, Reds and Trout in backcountry.

Grouper, Mackerel, Cobia and Sharks in the bay, and plenty of Tarpon roaming the outer flats throughout the summer. One species that really makes for some great summer fishing in one of the most overlooked species. That would have to be Mangrove Snapper.

The make up of Snapper

Mangroves are more known as a offshore species. Most don’t know that schools of Snapper that exist in the bay. Mangrove Snapper move into the bay in the summer months and make for some great fishing.

This could not be a better time to target Mangroves. Some of our inshore species slow down because the flats are just downright hot and  the fish are moving toward the deeper water. This makes for a great time to make the transition to take advantage of our bay and the hundreds of artificial reefs and wrecks. Most of the flats guys out there are used to fishing shallow water just don’t know where to start. Well I’m going to give you a few tips that will help you get a start towards one of Tampa Bay’s hidden jewels.

 Snapper fishing

Mangrove Snapper fishing is somewhat like inshore fishing as far as tackle goes; you typically use the same inshore rods, leader and hooks. I like to go with 20 lb. Ohero Fluorocarbon leader matched with a Daiichi #1 circle hook and 2 #5 split shots to get the bait to the bottom. Some of the best times to target Snapper in Tampa Bay are around the full moon as they seem to be on a mission to eat.  Mangrove Snapper are just about everywhere in the summer months of July and August; good places to start are Docks, bridges, wrecks, ledges, and ay of your other favorite Grouper spots.

All hold fish. I tend to have the best of luck fishing ledges, wrecks and reefs in the bay. The deeper water spots seem to produce bigger fish. Did I mention they are one of the best fish to eat!

Finding fish inside the bay

Mangroves snapper fishing used to be more difficult. These fish are in deeper water and you have to depend on good sonar.  Technology has come a long way.  Most GPS/ Sonar combo units come with detailed charts. These charts are loaded with hundreds of wrecks in Tampa Bay. This gives you a great advantage to find spots easy and quick.  My Lowrance HDS 12 sonar GPS and the structure scan allows to find the details of wrecks. Match this with the Rhodan GPS Anchor technology and you have just taken throwing the anchor out of the equation. It’s as easy as fishing the flats.

What bait to use for Mangrove Snapper

Bait for Mangrove Snapper fishing. Just like flats fishing your primary bait will be Greenbacks. The nice thing about summer is there is bait EVERYWHERE on the flats. Most bait is very small in the summer and I really like the 12 foot ¼ inch mesh net.  A few good nets to look at are the Black Pearl cast nets. Remember you don’t need to have a heavy net on the flats. Make sure to pick up some M-80 chum to bring the bait to you and you will be all set.



Captain Jason Prieto is a native resident of Tampa and has fished Tampa Bay and its surrounding waters for the past 20 years. He is owner and operator of Steady Action Fishing Charters which is based out of  Tampa Bay. To book a charter, you can reach him at 813-727-9890 or