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Yellowtail Snapper Ocyurus chrysurus


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Yellowtail Snapper
credit: Transity/CCSA

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Family: Lutjanidae, Snappers view all from this family

Description The yellowtail snapper, Ocyurus chrysurus, is an abundant species of snapper found along the North American coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Although they have been found as far north as Massachusetts, their normal range is along Florida down through the West Indies and Brazil.

In certain reefs, most notably in the Florida Keys, this beautifully colored fish is commonly spotted among divers and snorkelers. The yellow tailed snapper is also a popular and abundant game fish that makes excellent table fare. Yellowtail feed on shrimp, crabs, worms and smaller fish. They spawn in groups off the edge of reefs from spring to fall, but heavily in midsummer.

Yellowtail snapper are typically caught in 30-120 feet of water on and around reefs and other structure. The most common method of catching yellowtail snapper is with hook and line; and the use of frozen chum to attract the fish. The chum used to attract yellowtail is typically a five pound block of leftover fish parts that is ground and then frozen in to blocks. The chum is placed in to a mesh bag or metal basket that is then placed in to the water, and as the chum slowly melts, small pieces of fish will drift out and down towards the bottom, where the yellowtail typically feed. The chum attracts the fish, and keeps them near the boat for extended periods of time as well.

Dimensions Up to 24" (61 cm).

Habitat Estuaries, tidal flats & salt marshes, Ocean or bay shallows.

Range New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Florida, Texas.