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Published Sep. 29, 2005

Westerly winds and heavy rain hampered a great snapper bite. Anglers reported catching yellowtails, mangrove, lane and red snapper near wrecks offshore in depths of 60 feet. Limits of mangrove snapper were found on most artificial reefs located 3-4 miles offshore. Expect the action to resume as weather clears.

Try anchoring up-tide of the structure and drop some chum. Within minutes, fish should rise into the chum slick and gobble the small pieces that are dispersed. A free-lined chunk of sardine drifting at the same speed as the chum will attract a crowd.

The abundance of snapper is a result of the prespawn ritual that occurs a few weeks before the full moon in August. Annually mature snapper will congregate in mass with a seemingly endless appetite trying to build body fat needed for the spawn. Any other time these fish are finicky eaters and are scattered. After gorging themselves for a month, the fish taste better because the higher fat content brings out more flavor.

_ Dave Mistretta captains Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 595-3276.