Offshore success in the gulf this time of year depends on variables. Being able to pick the best days, tides and times to be out are crucial. There are phone apps to help determine the timing of weather patterns. Typically, fishing right before the arrival of a strong cold front is good since barometric pressure is falling rapidly, which triggers a response to feed. Forecasting tidal flow offshore also assists in targeting quarry at the best times. Strong tides around full and new moon phases cause fish to feed more aggressively. This is the case for snapper, because they're typically in larger schools, making them more aggressive because of the competition. The best fishing time is when fish are feeding. This tends to be during dawn and dusk. Often unnoticed are two other times of day — moonrise and moonset. These times make pelagic and reef species feed a little stronger during the 90-minute windows around sunup, sundown and both the moonrise and set. During this past full moon phase, we tested this theory on snapper. For two consecutive days we were able to target mangrove snapper when the moon set, major solunar and a fast-falling tide. The results were unbelievable. At every stop mangrove snapper attacked every bait well before it touched the bottom.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.