Red snapper: June 1 marks the opening of the season. We will have about 40 days to harvest these delicious fish until the close on July 10.
Where: Look for them on just about any structure in depths of 120 feet or more, but larger fish will be on spots with little or no pressure from other anglers. We have fished these depths daily, targeting red grouper that often frequent the same spots. But there are many more snapper than anything else. Last week we released seven monsters between 22 and 24 pounds in depths as shallow as 110 feet. Average size was 8-10 pounds.
Bait: Just like all snappers they will eat just about any offering, but frozen sardines are hard to beat. There is no need to chum these fish into a frenzy. If you catch one, there are a ton of them on the spot. One great technique is to drop the bait as slowly as possible through the water column. This often results in catching larger, more dominant fish at the top of the school.
Tackle: Depending on depth, 50-pound tackle should usually work. But in the right place, with the right technique, you could drop down to spinning tackle and have a lot of fun. Leads should be as small as the current and depth will allow. These fish have a mouthful of teeth so use at least a 50-pound leader, coupled down to about a 8/0 circle hook.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.