Targeting Mutton Snapper

Adult muttons are occasionally found on or around offshore reefs, while juvenile Mutton snapper are known to mostly reside within inshore grass-beds, mangroves, or canals.  Inshore fish average around 1 to 2 pounds in size, but on reefs and deeper water, the average is 5 pounds or more, with some fish reaching 15 pounds or more, and can grow up to 30 pounds.

For fishing offshore on reefs, use light ocean tackle with live pinfish, ballyhoo chunks, or live pilchards. When targeting these fish on shallow grassy flats, light inshore spinning tackle should be used with small jigs, plugs or live crustaceans, such as live shrimp or crabs. Similar tackle would also be used for targeting bonefish and permit. These fish spawn in the months of July and August and tend to feed on small bait fish and crustaceans. Muttons are highly sought after not only because of their strength and beauty, but also because they are so delicious.  

 Big Mutton snapper caught by steve in the florida keys on  a light tackle spinning rod with an artificial deep jig, while fishing offshore on the reef.

Big Mutton snapper caught by steve in the florida keys on  a light tackle spinning rod with an artificial deep jig, while fishing offshore on the reef.

Cook your Catch

Here is a simple recipe that is perfect for delicious Mutton Snapper.

Ingredients

  • Mutton fillets 
  • 1/4 cup of Italian dressing
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • One lemon sliced about 1/8th-1/4" thick

Preparation

  1. Marinade the fish for about 30 min in the wet ingredients.
  2. Remove from marinade and season with garlic powder.
  3. Place fillets in a baking dish and cover the fish with the sliced lemon.
  4. Cover baking dish with foil and bake in an oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the fillets flake easily with a fork.