Yellowtail snapper

The Yellowtail Snapper has a bluish olive back with yellow spots. The lower sides and belly are silver with yellow-pink stripes.

A wide horizontal yellow stripe begins at the mouth and continues to the tail. The tail is yellow and deeply forked.

Yellowtail snapper Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season Open Year-Round
Size Limit No Size Limit
Daily Limit / Person No Limit
Delaware Range Atlantic Ocean
Abundance in Delaware Waters Rare - this species is more common south of Delaware.
General Habitat and Food Preferences Yellowtail Snappers prefer sandy areas near deep artificial reefs at depths of 30 to 250 feet. They are a schooling fish that like to congregate above bottom structure.

A nocturnal predator, they feed on crabs, shrimps, marine worms, and fishes.
Did You Know? Yellowtail Snappers greater than 5 pounds are nicknamed “flags”.

Snappers will pop their mouths open and slam it shut faster than you can blink your eyes. They often snap like that several times when landed. Folklore says that is how they got their name.
Common Lures and Baits Yellowtail Snappers are among the wariest of biters, generally requiring lighter lines, leaders, hooks and sinkers than the angler would really like to use.

They can be caught with strips of squid, cut pieces of fish, or pieces of shrimp.

They can also be caught by trolling a variety of fish imitating lures, or by casting with small jigs, and even flies.

Chumming with small pieces of fish will help bring the fish to the boat.
Typical Sizes Caught In general, Yellowtail Snappers caught by anglers range between 2 and 4 pounds.
Citation Minimum Length and Weight Yellowtail Snappers are not currently eligible for a Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament or Live Release award, but a large specimen may qualify for an “Unusual Species” award.
Delaware State Record Yellowtail Snappers are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.