Snapper are found in the Pacific Ocean from Southern California to Peru and in tropical and temperate waters in the Atlantic Ocean. The number of different snapper species numbers well into the double digits, but the ones we are most concerned about are the red snapper and cubera snapper. Snapper are most often caught bottom fishing near reefs & wrecks, though they have been known to get aggressive and hit surface lures in impressive shows of force.
DESCRIPTION: Cubera Snapper, also referred to as dogtooth snapper, are easily recognizable by their four large canine teeth. Like nearly all snapper, they have the spherical shape and broad tails. Red snapper, as the name implies, are pinkish to red in color and have a very pointed anal fin.
FEEDING HABITS: Snapper feed on crustaceans, squid, and smaller reef fish. They are most commonly caught bottom fishing or jigging, but during the right time of day and in season they can become aggressive and hit lures at the surface. Once hooked, they almost immediately try to return to the rocks and caves to spread their fins and lock themselves in from being pulled up.
SIZE: Everyone knows of the fried snapper, or ‘pargo entero’ that fits on your plate, but that’s not the size of snapper anglers are after. Cubera Snapper are the largest of the species and can grow up to 80 lbs! Most commonly they are in the 25-40 lb range, though 50-60 pounders are pulled up regularly. The red snapper in Costa Rica are typically smaller in the 10-30 lb range.
WHERE FOUND IN COSTA RICA: Snapper are found along both coast lines and can be found in estuaries as well as several hundred feet of water. The biggest snapper are typically patrolling deep water reefs and wrecks, which is when bottom fishing with cut up bonito or fresh squid is highly successful.
BEST MONTHS: Snapper are caught all year round, they truly have no season. Like all fish they are affected by water temperature and currents, but there is never a bad time to come down and hunt for snapper.