Yellowtail snapper is a species often overlooked in the eastern gulf. Many anglers don't even know how good that fishery is in our waters. One reason might be because yellowtails are very leader-shy. Another is even though these fish are structure-oriented, they're not on all structure, or possibly many anglers overchum their spots causing yellowtails to stay on the bottom. This area is filled with these beautiful, tasty snappers and if you fine-tune your tactics, you can make it a part of nearly every trip. Yellowtails can be found on many different structures . Chumming is the most important part. Look for shows of fish well off the bottom of your favorite wreck or ledge before setting anchor. Once a school is located and the boat is anchored, a slow but steady chum line should be started. Many anglers will start fishing right away. That's a mistake since you need to make the fish comfortable while they're off the bottom, in your chum line, and catching them will disrupt any comfort. As more fish find the chum and make their way toward the surface, the competition level will get to a point that they become so aggressive that they come right to the surface. Now it's time to fish. Spinning gear is preferred. Yellowtails fall under the snapper aggregate limit, so in federal waters you can possess up to 10 per person and five per person in state waters.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.