Lutjanus Vivanus



Gulf of Mexico

18 pounds

17" - 32"

Silk Snapper

Silk Snapper (Lutjanus vivanus) Fish Description

The Silk Snapper is a deep-ocean fish that is considered more like a commercial fish for its meat rather than for game fishing. 

Like most snappers, the Silk Snapper has a beautiful warm shade ranging from red to pink, getting lighter towards the belly. It has yellowish or reddish fins with some yellow stripes. What makes it different than other snappers is its yellow iris making it its identifier. Other snappers have red irises. It has a pointed anal fin by the rear, and the back edge of its tail is trimmed in black. A young Silk Snapper might have a black spot at the upper side just right below its anterior dorsal soft rays, but this physical characteristic is absent on adult ones.

Silk Snapper feeds on other fishes and crustaceans like crabs, shrimps, cephalopods, gastropods, urochordates, and tunicates. Anglers and commercial fishers prefer to catch a Silk Snapper for food. Anglers believe that the deeper you fish, the tastier the Silk Snapper is.


Silk Snapper Interesting Facts

  • A Silk Snapper's canine teeth are larger on its upper jaw.
  • It has a lifespan of up to 33 years.
  • While it is a rare case, silk snappers are connected to ciguatoxin poisoning.


The usual length of a silk snapper is around 17 inches, and it can grow up to 32 inches max. Younger ones are usually 9 inches long. Its maximum published weight is 18.3 pounds.


Habitat and Distribution

As mentioned earlier, a Silk Snapper is a deep-ocean fish that dwells at depths between 400 to 500 feet during the day. They frequent shallower depths during the night. It is commonly found in the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and Western Atlantic in North Carolina, and the Caribbean; and around Bermuda to São Paolo in Brazil. It is also abundant in the Bahamas and around the Antilles but in a somewhat deeper area, with depths 500 to 800 feet deep. 


Fishing Techniques - Silk Snapper

There is only one way of catching a silk snapper: deep sea fishing (or deep fishing). Some anglers like to catch them for recreational purposes, but they are mostly discouraged since they are in deeper parts of the ocean. Plus, it requires more than just the usual sporting or fishing gear to catch one.

Because of its habitat's depth, it is advised to use electronic rods or motorized winches, especially for commercial fishers.

The best baits to catch a Silk Snapper are fresh kahawai, mackerelmullet, shellfish, squid, and crabs. These baits are also called soft baits; hence, this technique is sometimes called soft bait fishing. But the key to effectively luring a Silk Snapper to take the bait is to make sure that the bait is not impaled on the hook but rather free to move and looks as natural as possible. Non-stainless steel hooks are preferred when using natural or live baits.

It is best to catch them during the evening or early morning since they swim to shallower parts of the ocean during these times.

Some states have prohibitions for Silk Snapper fishing, especially during spawning season. Make sure to check with the local regulations before fishing for Silk Snappers.