What's hot: With many key species offshore being closed to harvest, we have had to change gears and tackle to keep the rods bent. Amberjack have been taking most live and artificial presentations, in depths of 100 feet and out. Targeting large structure and chumming heavily we have had great catches of mangrove snapper and even some yellowtail snapper. Along with these we are also catching large triggerfish and lane snapper. Lighter spinning gear has replaced the usual 4/0 sized reels. Light fluorocarbon leaders in the 15- to 25-pound class, and smaller circle hooks are a must.
Tactics: Anchoring up tide of the structure and deploying a steady but not excessive amount of chum is common. Make sure to hide the hook completely in the bait, as most snapper are wary of anything out of place. If the current is slow I suggest using no weight at all. This will allow your bait to fall naturally through the water column like the chum.
Tips: Keep an eye out for activity around the boat. Though the water temperatures are still on the cool side, pelagics such as wahoo, mahi-mahi and even sailfish are in the area.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at fintasticinc.com or (727) 642-3411.