Short-tail Red Snapper
Short-tailed red snappers are a common deep-water snapper of the Indo-Pacific region and are locally important in commercial and recreational catches.View 2 listings
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Where and When?
Short-tailed red snappers are distributed throughout much of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, but, while in some areas they can grow to over a metre in length (39.3 in.), in others they rarely achieve half this size. It seems likely that there are actually two species and detailed DNA work is being carried out on them as all the fish look, superficially, similar. They are found from the Red Sea southwards, around the African Coast to northern South Africa and, eastwards around India, as far as Japan. From there they are found in many areas right down south to Australia and even some areas near New Zealand. Their depth range is reported as being 90-400 m. (300-1 310 ft.) and they prefer rocky or hard bottoms and, being usually found near to the substrate, they are referred to as “benthopelagic”. No clear seasonal patterns of activity have been noted overall, but, in the cooler areas such as around New Zealand, they are less often caught in the cooler months. In more tropical areas, like Vanuatu and Hawaii, they are caught throughout the year and can be caught day or night.
About Short-tail Red Snapper
The short-tailed red snapper, Etelis carbunculus, is a little longer and thinner than most other members of the Lutjanidae, the “snapper” family. Its body is generally red or pink on the upper areas, shading down the flanks to a white belly. They have large eyes and mouths with several sets of large, sharp, canine teeth on both jaws. The lower jaw extends slightly beyond the upper. There is one long, continuous dorsal fin and a pair of long, thin pectoral fins. They can attain a maximum length of 127 cm. (50 in.), but most fish caught are well below 65 cm. (26 in.). Short-tailed red snappers mature at about 61 cm. (24 in.) and have been recorded to live for at least 32 years. They are predators and will feed on most organisms that they come across, including smaller fish, squid, crabs and shrimps. They are an offshore, deep-water species and are known to aggregate at times. Where fishing pressure has not been too great they are one of the more abundant fish in areas within their range, but, in some areas, population declines have been noted. The species grows fairly slowly and, in Vanuatu, it is reported to spawn throughout the year.
How to Catch?
As short-tailed red snappers are only found in deep, often offshore, waters, all fishing is carried out from seagoing boats. The species is an important part of commercial catches throughout their range, but, mostly there is little control, except in Australian waters where there is strict management. Recreational fishing is limited to a few areas, mostly islands like Hawaii and the Seychelles and around northern Australia. It is not possible to get flies down deep enough to catch this species and, similarly, spinning or even jigging are rarely used. The most common way, for recreational and commercial fishing, is by using hand lines or specialised electric reel fishing. Simple rigs are used with a wide variety of baits, but, as the bait has to travel far though the water column, baits like squid, that sit firmly on the hook, are best. Commercial fishers use many hooks, often on “set lines”, while recreational anglers usually use fewer hooks. Fortunately, in many of the mostly island fishing areas, there are experienced and well equipped charters and guides, who are able to provide the enthusiast with an exciting fishing experience.
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