Alongside Grouper and Hogfish, Snapper is considered among the best-tasting fish coming off Florida’s Gulf shores. Snapper is more delicate than Grouper when it comes to taste and features a more profound flavor when grilled.
Most restaurants offer snapper in various ways – filleted or whole. Here at Wild Seafood Market, we offer various snapper species, including Mutton and Mangrove Snapper, also known as Gray Snapper. When it comes to taste and culinary options, both make for great table fare. Although similar, the two species have plenty of differences.
In this article, we will compare their taste, size, costs to buy, and even when or how to target them fishing.
Cooking & Taste Comparison
Mutton & Mangrove
Both the Mutton Snapper and Mangrove Snapper have good quality meat that is perfect for various types of cooking. Baking or grilling the whole fish (gutted and finned) makes for an epic dining experience. And of course, filleted, pan-frying or setting the fillet on a cedar plank on the grill will also generate a proper delicious dish. Snapper is excellent with marinades made of citrus, cilantro, and garlic.
Mutton Snapper has lean but firm meat. The flesh is white but tinted with some pink shade and features a mild, sweet taste. Whether you cook Mutton Snapper steamed, grilled, broiled, poached, or baked, it will be delicious. For quick meals, you can season some filets with lemon, butter, chilis, and you’re good to go.
Mangrove aka Gray Snapper
Another great-tasting snapper is the Mangrove (aka Gray) Snapper. This fish also consistently ranks among the most delicious fish to eat in Florida, popular among local chefs to serve the whole, grilled fish. Like the Mutton, this snapper features delicate white meat with firm flesh and a lean texture. The white meat also has a light pink tint.
Some fish enthusiasts describe the Mangrove Snapper’s meat as mild, fresh, and sweet, like that of striped bass and Cubera fish. This fish is excellent for baking, broiling, smoking, frying, deep-frying, and grilling.
Our Take on the Taste comparison
We’ve enjoyed both these fish on many occasions and if we had to choose just one, we’d go with Mangrove Snapper and grill the whole fish. For a party of four, we’d prefer a six-pound fish to assure all at the table can eat to their stomach’s content.
Mutton & Mangrove Market Rates/Prices
Rates listed as of 2/22/22
Here at the Wild Seafood Market, we understand that price point is a significant consideration for everyone buying fish. Since we are the supplier and there’s no middleman in our supply chain, we can offer the best quality and freshest wild-caught fish at the best possible price direct-to-consumer.
Ordering Mangrove Snapper from Wild Seafood Market, our current market price (as of 2/22/22) is $9 per pound of whole fish. Depending on the number of people you’re looking to feed, you may want to order a three-pound whole fish ($27) which will yield just over a pound of fillets, enough to supply roughly three or four modest servings. We will deliver the fish cleaned and filleted if you prefer. However, anything that weighs more than 5lbs can only be shipped as fillets due to shipping constraints.
Ordering Mangrove Snapper from other online suppliers and retailers is likely to be priced as the fillet only (as most don’t offer the whole fish option) and costs range from $35/lbs to $65/lbs or more.
For Mutton Snapper, our current price per pound of whole fish is $8. It is available in various sizes from 2lbs to 8lbs, depending on what our boats bring in. Mutton Snapper is of our more rarely available stocked species and when it’s in stock, it won’t last long.
Mutton Snapper can grow to as big as 34 pounds and 37 inches long. Meanwhile, Mangrove or Gray Snapper is a smaller species and will only reach 20lbs (commonly commercially fished closer to 10lbs) yet the record for Mangrove Snapper is 44lbs. They will most often be 10-14 inches long.
Tips for Targeting Mangrove and Mutton Snapper
Fishing for Mangrove Snapper
When fishing for Mangrove Snapper, you’ll have better luck in the warmer waters of Brazil, Bermuda, the Caribbean Sea, and of course the Gulf of Mexico. These fish love warm to temperate waters such as canals and grass flats. They also frequent structures like rocks, debris, shipwrecks, and mangrove forests.
Anglers recommend fishing in open water, where you can let your bait sink to the bottom. A 4J hook with live bait is excellent for catching this Mangrove Snapper. Live shrimp and mud minnows will make good bait. Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural bait in the Gulf of Mexico. You also need a dehooking device.
Fishing for Mutton Snapper
Mutton Snapper is abundant in the waters of the Caribbean, especially in areas with healthy reef environments. You can also find this snapper in the waters of Florida, Brazil, and Massachusetts. This species is often discovered in waters that are about 130 to 230 ft. Mutton Snapper loves reef, rock, and coral areas. It is advisable to use fresh bait and some light sinkers when fishing for Mutton Snapper. Let the bait drift in shallow waters or use chumming with flies or jigs.
When to Fish / Regulations
LImits and openings as of 2/22/22
It is essential to know and understand federal & state rules and regulations when fishing for Snapper or any species to help towards the conservation and sustainability of the fish & ecosystem. We will briefly cover them here, however, you’ll want to check the current status for limits and openings on the MyFWC.com website.
In the Gulf of Mexico, both Mutton Snapper and Mangrove Snapper are open year-round, both for recreational and commercial fishing. However, once the stock ACL (annual catch limit) is reached, the harvesting of this fish will be closed for the rest of the year.
Knowing the size limits of the fish you’re targeting is also critical to sustainability and conservation. Thus, it would help to observe the minimum size limit in the area where you’re fishing, which means you are not allowed to keep or sell any fish that’s below the limit.
Gray or Mangrove Snapper has a minimum size limit of 12 inches in total length, both recreational and commercial fishing. Mutton Snapper has a minimum size limit of 18 inches in total length.
Mutton Snapper has a bag limit of 5 fish per person for recreational fishing. There’s no bag limit for Mangrove Snapper, but a 10-snapper aggregate bag limit binds both species. All snappers are included in the aggregate count, such as Gray, Mutton, Cubera, Yellowtail, Queen, Welchman, Blackfin, and Silk Snappers.
Not a fan of recreational fishing or simply had a bad day out the water but still craving Snapper? Visit our online shop and order the freshest Mangrove or Mutton Snapper from the comfort of your home and have it shipped directly to you from our docks in Madeira Beach, Florida.