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.
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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.