What's hot: With the closing of red snapper season, anglers have to work a little harder to get that snapper dinner. Mangrove, yellowtail and lane snapper will be the new targets. Red snapper will still be covering most of the offshore ledges and wrecks, so targeting these other species without catching the reds will be difficult.
Tips: Mangrove snapper are the most common and can be found inshore and offshore. Targeting them offshore can be difficult because they live the same areas as red snapper and are usually the last to eat. Areas such as the Middle Grounds and the Elbow will hold these fish in larger numbers. If a 70-mile-plus run is not in the game plan, concentrate on ledges in 70- to 90-foot depths.
Yellowtail can be found over large structures in depths of 120-180 feet. Wrecks, springs and big ledges should be fished with small baits and light leaders. Ground chum is good, but sardines cut up into thumbnail size pieces will work better.
Lane snapper are also prevalent in area waters. They can be found in hard bottom areas, where there are lots of bait stacks. Start by fishing where you may have caught red grouper. Smaller chunks of sardines or strips of squid will be the baits of choice.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 or at fintasticinc.com.