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How to Catch Mutton Snappers Using a Titanium Leader

Mutton Snappers in the Florida Keys  can be extremely challenging to catch at times, but during the winter months targeting them gets even more challenging when large schools of King Fish migrate through the Florida Keys. To avoid having to continually keep from tying on new hooks due to King Fish cutting off your hooks this winter, I highly recommend using a short trace of Titanium Leader rather than use Single Strand Wire.

I prefer  AFW Brand Titanium over standard Single Strand metallic wire for the following reasons:

  • It is much more forgiving and has a little stretch to it
  • Anglers can tie Titanium to the hook using a clinch or Albright Knot, no haywire twist is required.
  • Much more Kink Resistant Compared to Single Strand Wire
  • Live Bait Action



Learn How to Catch Mutton Snapper using Titanium by tying the rig I use below



The Best Pre-Made Titanium Leader made by R&R Tackle.

Titanium Leaders for Mutton Snappers


Mutton Snapper Geographic Range

Mutton Snapper populations are the most abundant in the waters around Bahamas, off South Florida, throughout the entire Caribbean,  Gulf of Mexico and Bermuda. Scientific studies indicate that Mutton Snappers can be found as far North as New England down to South Eastern Brazil. 

Mutton Snapper Color and Pigmentation 

All Mutton Snappers have blue facial recognition markings that are unique to each fish. The Mutton Snapper blue facial recognition marks can be found just below the eyes of these fish. Muttons Snapper fisherman call these facial marks “Blue Lightening Bolts” as they match the personality of these hard fighting Florida Keys fish. 

All Mutton Snappers are defined by their famous sub-dorsal body “Black Spot” situated just above the Mutton Snappers lateral line below the anterior end of the dorsal fin. The famous Mutton Snapper black spot is more defined in younger Mutton Snappers and tends to get smaller and fades in color the older the Mutton Snapper gets. The Mutton Snapper black spot is same size as the pupil.

Mutton Snappers are characterized by their spectacular colorations. Mutton Snappers exhibit two types of color variations, Mutton Snapper fisherman categorize these fish color variations as “Pink and Green”.

“Pink” Mutton Snapper-The “Pink” coloration of Mutton Snappers species call the deep reefs and wrecks home. These deep water Mutton Snappers also can also display bright Yellow Coloration, with Blue, Reds and Pinks. These fish are awesome looking Mutton Snappers.   “Green” Mutton Snapper- The shallower water Mutton Snappers have Greenish Olive color Mutton Snappers inhabit shallower reefs.

Mutton Snapper Growth Rates 

Scientific studies show indicates that Mutton Snappers grows 5-6 inches a year for the first 2 years then fairly rapidly during for the first 2 years(5-6 inch growth rate, but after year 2 they drop to 3.5 inches a year in growth. Then after year 3 the growth rate slows even more. Studies show the fish grow in weight the fastest when they reach the ages 5 and 10 years old.  Muttons Snappers are said to live 15 to 20 years. The current Florida State record Mutton Snapper is 30 pounds and 4 oz. This state record Mutton Snapper was caught in the Dry Tortugas National Park off the Florida Keys.

Mutton Snapper Bait 

Dead Bait and Live Bait

The best live bait for Mutton Snappers is live pilchards, pinfish, small jacks, blue runners, cigar minnows, goggle eyes, speedos and live ballyhoo.  I will also target Mutton Snappers using fresh dead speedos, goggle eyes, mullet heads,  chunks of bonito, fresh ballyhoo plugs as well as jumbo live shrimp. 

Mutton Snapper Artificial Lures 

Mutton Snappers respond very well to slow pitch jigging or high speed jigging.  White Buck tails jigs tipped with fresh dead Ballyhoo or fresh dead Bonito strips work very well. 

How Does the Mutton Snapper Taste?

The Mutton Snapper is my personal favorite out of all the Snapper species to eat.  The Mutton Snappers white fillets are considered excellent table fare.  The Mutton Snapper meat is white, flaky and light, firmer.  The Mutton Snapper makes for a great whole backed fish and is perfect fish for the grill. 

Mutton Snapper Facts-Learning about the Mutton Snapper will help you catch more Mutton Snappers in the Florida Keys this year. 

  • Muttons Snapper are by far the most finicky eaters of all the Snappers. Divers have reported that these fish are extremely shy underwater and very tough to get close too. They have very strong survival instincts, making them tough to catch and times. 
  • Muttons Snappers can put up a very hard fight when hooked.  The Mutton Snapper will angle their large broad flat sides toward the fisherman during the fight. When a an anglers hooks a large Mutton Snapper they are in for a challenge because a large Mutton Snapper will fight hard all the way to the surface, giving the fisherman a solid workout.  
  • Mutton Snappers have “crab crusher” V-shaped teeth on the roof of their mouth. 
  • Mutton snapper feed on shellfish and all types of small fish. 

Mutton Snapper Fishing  Regulations in the Florida Keys

We are allowed to keep 5 Mutton Snapper per person per day and must be 18 inches in total length to keep.  Mutton Snappers are included in Aggregate Snapper Bag Limit of 10 snapper per person/day (excluding red snapper and vermilion snapper) – Note: cubera snapper less than 30-inches total length are included in this limit. 

Keep up to date on the Florida Keys Yellowtail Snapper fishery regulations and closures by clicking here https: