Mangrove snapper have taken up summer residence on almost any submerged inshore or nearshore structure. Natural limestone outcroppings, artificial reefs, bridges, rock jetties, piers, residential docks and even mangrove roots are hosting a seemingly abundance of fish. Many typical snook haunts have produced bonus snapper catches recently. Mangrove snapper have very keen eyesight and an instinct to avoid anything deemed suspicious. Downsizing leaders and hook size are often necessary with clear water and high sun conditions. Making sure your bait selection is offered in a natural way is key when targeting snapper. They generally fall for smaller live baits and with our yearly summer spawn of juvenile sardines and herring taking place now, we are in luck. Snapper also respond to chum and often move up-tide of their structure to aggressively but warily attack fresh cut bait. If you fish at night, you will find a completely different attitude in the snapper as they often let their guard down and feed with abandon.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at [email protected] and (727) 510-1009.