Key Largo is fortunate to be home to some of the best mutton snapper fishing in the world. Snapper fishing, in general, is excellent, but there’s something special about Key Largo mutton snappers. Good Karma Sportfishing specializes in catching mutton snappers year-round consistently using a variety of different mutton snapper fishing tactics, and we have an excellent success rate. 

How to Catch Mutton Snappers

Key Largo Mutton Snapper GPS Fishing Spots

The Key Largo mutton snapper fishery is world-renowned for a good reason. These delicious fish are not only great to eat, but they’re also fun to catch. You’ll need good GPS numbers if you’re looking to catch mutton snappers from Key Largo down to Key West.  Learn how you can find numerous mutton snapper spots in one day while fishing on your boat.   Purchase our How to Find Deep Water Snapper and Groupers Spots course by visiting Good Karma Fishing Tackle. With this course, you’ll be able to find the best mutton snapper fishing spots in the Florida Keys. 

Easiest Way To Catch Mutton Snappers

Use the Florida Keys mutton snapper techniques I share in this video to catch mutton snappers anywhere in the world.

Mutton Snapper Color and Pigmentation 

The most distinguishing feature of the mutton snapper is its coloration. Although these fish can exhibit pink or green coloration, mutton snapper fishermen often refer to them as “pink and greenies.” Pink mutton snappers are usually found in deeper waters, while greenish-olive color mutton snappers tend to be found more in shallower waters. Pink mutton snappers may get their color from a type of shrimp known as krill and deep water crabs, while greenish-olive mutton snappers get their color from a variety of algae known as phytoplankton.

Mutton Snapper Black Spot

All mutton snappers have a famous sub-dorsal body “black spot” situated just above the mutton snappers’ lateral line below the anterior end of the dorsal fin. The renowned 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’s black spot is the same size as the pupil. Some black spots have a white halo surrounding them. However, most black spots have a yellow tinge, and some even have a reddish hue. The black spot sets a mutton snapper apart from other similar fish. 

Mutton Snapper Facial Recognition Mark

All species of mutton snappers have blue line facial recognition markings unique to each fish. Mutton snapper fishermen call these facial marks “blue lightning bolts” as they match the personality of these hard-fighting Florida Keys fish. 

Mutton Snapper Growth Rates

Scientific studies indicate that mutton snappers grow 5-6 inches yearly for the first two years, but after year two, they drop to 3.5 inches a year in growth. Then after year three, the growth rate slows even more. Studies show that fish grow weight the fastest when they reach the ages of 5 and 10. Muttons snappers are said to live 15 to 20 years. 

Another Easy Way Catch Mutton Snappers

Mutton snappers are migratory fish, moving around seasonally to find the best conditions for feeding and spawning. As a result, our mutton snapper fishing techniques and tactics can vary depending on the time of year. Key Largo is one of the best places to target mutton snappers year-round, thanks to the variety of habitats and conditions that are perfect for these fish. In the video blow I demonstrate another really easy way to catch mutton snappers.  Here is another video where I demonstrate another easy way to catch big mutton snappers in the Florida Keys. 

The Best Bait for Mutton Snappers 

The best live bait for mutton snappers is live pilchards, pinfish, small jacks, blue runners, cigar minnows, goggle eyes, speedos, and live ballyhoo.  Also target mutton snappers using fresh dead speedos, goggle eyes, mullet heads, chunks of bonito ballyhoo plugs, and even live jumbo shrimp.  

The Best Mutton Snapper GPS Spots

There is a secret to finding the best mutton snapper fishing spots in the Florida Keys. To learn this secret you can purchase our course by clicking here.

The Best Pin Fish Trap for Mutton Snapper Bait

The Joy Fish Pinfish Trap is a popular choice among many anglers. It features a heavy-duty, vinyl-coated steel wire construction for durability and longevity. This pinfish trap also has a large, easy-access opening for simple bait placement and retrieval of captured fish. Its design enables it to effectively catch pinfish, which can then be used as live bait for larger species such as mutton snappers, mangrove snappers and groupers. However, always remember that the effectiveness of a pinfish trap can depend on various factors including location, bait used, and specific fishing conditions. I have seen this pinfish trap in action several times and I have to say it works awesome. If you are visiting the Florida Keys you must purchase one prior to arriving as these are hard to find at local shops and many of the pinfish traps you find in the Keys are way overpriced and do not work very well.  I buy all my pinfish traps through as well as most of my clients. Purchase the best pin fish trap for mutton snapper by clicking here.

The Best Pinfish Trap



The Best Mutton Snapper Recipe 

The mutton snappers’ white fillets are considered excellent table fare. The mutton snapper meat is white, flaky, firm, and light. The mutton snapper makes for a tremendous whole-backed fish and is a perfect fish for the grill. Learn how to catch, clean and cook Florida Keys mutton snapper in this video by Brook Crist featuring Good Karma Sportfishing. 


Mutton Snapper Leader Lengths

I use a 10-100 ft wind-on leader to target mutton snappers. My preferred leader length for mutton snapper varies depending on factors such as water clarity, time of day, and current. I use 30,40, 50, or 60-pound YoZuri fluorocarbon leader because of its abrasion resistance. It also does not spin up after a couple of big fish like Ande monofilament. Click here to purchase YoZuri fluorocarbon leader.

mutton snapper leaders

Before each trip, mutton snapper fishing leaders measure long leaders using a Rapala line counter. Click here to purchase.

the best line counter


My preferred hook is a BKK Inline Circle hook—either a size 5/0,8/0,9/0 or 10/0. I size the hook for the preferred bait I use daily. Purchase BKK Inline Circle hooks by clicking here. If you plan on visiting the Florida Keys, these hooks are available at Good Karma Sportfishing-Tavernier Creek Marina.  These are the hooks I am using in this recent video with Ryan Morie.

Use ball-bearing swivels by AFW. These are the best on the market and the most reliable. Click here to purchase

AFW Ball Bearing Swivels

If you want to learn more about my mutton snapper leader strategies, you can purchase my audio by clicking here; it contains my current mutton snapper fishing tactics and why I do what I do regarding leader lengths. Also to purchase the world famous clips I use for attaching weights to my leaders click here to purchase.

mutton snapper weight clips

What is the World Record Mutton Snapper?

International Game Fish Association, the all-tackle world record for the species is a 30-pound, 4-ounce mutton snapper caught by Richard Casey on Nov. 29, 1998 at Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys.


If you want to catch some delicious mutton snappers, look no further than the waters around Key Largo. Be sure to book with Good Karma Sportfishing for your chance to reel in some mutton snappers yourself! And if you’re looking for more instructions on catching these mutton snappers, we offer the best mutton snapper fishing courses that will teach you everything you need to know about finding deep water mutton snappers’ gps locations.

Thanks for reading, and good luck with mutton snapper fishing!