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Snapper Fishing for Kids

Parents know it's tough getting kids to stay focused in a hobby or sport. Fishing is the same way....times a million. You must rely on another living creature to give you or your kids entertainment. With that being said, there are fish that are easier to catch than others which makes them susceptible to being caught by novice anglers i.e the kiddos. Inshore snappers are those fish!

Habits of the Snapper

While inshore, snappers naturally like to hold and spend their time around structure. What that means for you or your little anglers is close quarters fishing. While fishing structure, you will go through some bait, tackle, sinkers and leader. When you have kids casting any where near these obstructions, mentally prepare yourself for having to untangle or break free your hook from whatever your kid casted or reeled over. On average, whenever we go snapper fishing, we break off 3-6 hooks and sinkers, dozens of live bait, at least 5ft+ of leader and maybe a rod on occasion. This can leave your mental sanity and wallets empty and devoid. With that being said, it's just the nature of the beast. Stay in the game, keep positive and help your little ones get those baits as close to the shade or structure as possible to land that snapper of a life time. I love fishing a channel adjacent to a flat on an ebbing tide, it pulls all the small fish and crabs off the flat and flushes them into the channels where the snappers are lying in wait.

Tackle, Rods and Reels

The only way your kid is going to be able to catch these snapper or any fish for that matter, is if they can keep a rod in their hand. Giving a small kid a 7ft med heavy battle axe is not going to work out. You will get 10 min max of them holding that rod. You want something light and shorter, a six foot medium is suitable for any small angler. St. Croix rods makes a premier series in 6ft medium and medium light that is perfect for small kids. You get the light weight blank, flexibility and power all packed into 6ft. Grayton's little snapper stick is paired with a Shimano stradic 2500 spooled with 10lb cortland master braid. We did replace the drag with a carbon drag because the felt drag does not hold up to the stronger fish like snapper and bonefish. For leader material we use a 3ft piece of 25lb fluorocarbon connected with a clinch knot to a 1-2/0 circle hook (don't use a loop knot due to the mechanics of the circle hook)


Live bait is king when it comes to snapper. The reason why we favor live bait over artificial is that snappers can be found easily which makes them susceptible to pressure. The difference between watching fish and catching fish with your kids usually comes down to live bait. Having a bait well full of pilchards and shrimp also gives your kid constant entertainment. Whenever your kid gets tired of holding that rod, you just slip it into a rod holder and let them go back to watch your shrimp and pilchards swim around. Large live shrimp is a great choice for picking off pressured snappers with your kids. Another great alternative to live shrimp is white bait. Pilchards and small mojarra showered in the mangroves pulls some great snapper out to the edge and makes for a great spectacle for young anglers. Live crabs are how we catch our medium to large mutton snapper inshore. Whenever the tide starts to ebb on an adjacent flat you can usually find some good size mutton snappers lurking around waiting for bait and crabs to wash off the flat.

Keep it or Release it?

The biggest struggle when it comes to snapper, do you keep them or release them?

This all started when we first moved down to the Keys and we kept several good size mangrove snapper for the Traeger. Low and behold I had set a standard for Grayton that whenever we catch snapper it automatically means we're keeping them for dinner. So how do we balance the expectations of our young kids and the health of our fisheries? Be a parent and teach and mentor them, let them know that eventually, if everyone keeps every single fish they catch, that there will be no fish to catch and eat for others in the future. I try to set a ridiculous standard for my kids on what they can keep as far as size. When I was younger I thought it was a lot more special keeping a giant fish and eating it opposed to a average size one. At the end of the day, I kill less fish and save myself the heartache of getting eaten alive by the no see umms while filleting small fish after a long day out on the water.

Hopefully, this information was another "tool" for your "tool bag". You may not want or need to use it, but it's there for when you have to save the day for the kiddos. Snapper are but one of the "easy to target fish" some others are small jacks, porgy and lady fish. Your kids can use the same techniques and tackle and keep the rod bending all day long.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out our YouTube video "Snapper fishing for kids" that's being released in conjunction with this article! Help support the parent anglers by "liking" "sharing" and subscribing to our content so we can start producing some quality Apparel and ultimately grow this into a large community of parent anglers!

Stay Hooked Fam

Scott Brown

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