Saturday, March 17, 2018

Captain's Corner: Head to deeper water to find snapper

What's hot: With fishing for red and gag grouper in federal waters closed, our focus is on snapper and amberjack. There are many types of snapper in our local waters. Red snapper is closed so target snapper such as mangrove, lane and yellowtails. These fish can be somewhat tricky; knowing the areas where they may be holding is key.

Location: Concentrate in 70 to 100 feet, the most consistent depth for snapper year-round. Concentrate on the high-profile ledges and rock piles in these depths and tackle down, as these fish are wary and usually pass on baits presented with large leads and heavy leaders.

Tackle: Small, lightweight spinning rods are a great way to catch snapper. Braided lines in the 15- to 30-pound class will provide power to stop these fish and will help detect the sometimes delicate bite. Rigging usually consists of a 6- to 8-foot length of 20- to 30-pound fluorocarbon leader. If the tide is running, a half- to three-quarter-ounce lead should be placed right above the hook. A small jig head can also be used.

Tactics: Chumming is important in this type of fishing. Chum blocks and a steady stream of 1-inch square pieces of sardine will assist in getting the snapper to rise a little higher in the water column, thus making them a little easier to catch. Many of these fish will feed while the bait is falling so be ready to throw the reel in gear and start reeling fast.

Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 or


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