New to the area and been working my way around offshore looking for spots. Been out 10 miles or more off Anclote looking for mangrove snappers. Got a few small ones, but mostly grunts. Lots of grunts. Been using shrimp and cut bait. Used small pilchards and got mostly blue runners. At least they aren't catfish, but could use some advice on how to avoid the grunts.


  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 2,969 Moderator
    As the saying goes, where there's Grunts there are Gags. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
    Nothing wrong with grunts, the little fillets make for a delish fish fry or tacos.
    We have a Grunt tournament every March at the Madeira Beach Marina, the "Great American Grunt Hunt".
    If you're using shrimp, cut squid, deen tails, etc. you will catch Grunts and hopefully some other tasty critters.
  • suprastevesuprasteve Posts: 110 Deckhand
    Go further. You'll never get away from the grunts until you're in 100'+ water (at which point the vermilion snapper fill in for them), but you'll increase your chances at decent grouper. Mangroves can be finicky, you have to be fishing an area that actually holds a decent number of them, and a chum bag off the back never hurts. Off Bradenton, I don't bottom fish within 10 miles unless it's the middle of winter. In my experience, only time of the year to consistently catch good fish that close.
    Aaaand let the "well I get gags at 3 miles all the time in August" comments begin....
  • szarmanszarman Posts: 18 Greenhorn
    What size leader/hook are you using? I always would fish for grouper 5-12 miles out of Anclote and have had a lot of success using big pinfish and I would never catch mangrove snapper, but I was using 60lb leader and 5/0 to 7/0 hooks. With grouper season being closed for parts of the year, I switched to using my inshore rods with 5-7ft of 20lb fluorocarbon leader using a knocker or chicken rig and started catching mangrove snapper. If you are catching the occasional small mangrove snapper than you are in the right spot. You might need to chum them up with cut greenbacks for 10-15 minutes and freeline a piece back, or put it on a light jig head to get the bigger ones to eat. You will have to go through 10-15 grunts before you start getting the snapper in that area. Grunts are thick. I have a rule that everyone has to catch 3 grunts on squid/sardines before they can start throwing down live shrimp/greenbacks/pinfish for the snapper/grouper. It helps to thin the grunt herd and it gets the attention of the snapper/grouper to come investigate what is going on.
  • spdtspdt Posts: 10 Greenhorn
    Thanks for the tips. We've been using 1/0 or 2/0 hooks and 20 or 30 lb fluorocarbon leader, but probalbly not chumming enough. We'll be looking forward to the Grunt Hunt. My wife, aka the "Grunt Slayer", is getting fired up already!
  • Grouper7Grouper7 Posts: 34 Deckhand
    spdt wrote: »
    Thanks for the tips. We've been using 1/0 or 2/0 hooks and 20 or 30 lb fluorocarbon leader, but probalbly not chumming enough. We'll be looking forward to the Grunt Hunt. My wife, aka the "Grunt Slayer", is getting fired up already!

    Grunts come with the territory. If the groupers, gags and reds are hungry they'll push em off . I fish off Anclote a few days a week .
  • lbudlbud Posts: 1,014 Officer
    After you fillet Your grunts cut the belly/ribs off and keep for bait,Saves a lot of money and everything eats it...
    Live while You're breathing! It's Your only chance.....:grin
  • DucksterDuckster Posts: 548 Officer
    Grunt heads make great grouper bait just saying
  • capt.pwatsoncapt.pwatson Posts: 6 Greenhorn
    Your going to find grunts everywhere inside 100ft. But that's not a bad thing, at least you know your over structure. Snapper fishing is my favorite, there are tons in the 10 mile mark along with yellowtails, Lanes, and Hogs. The first thing i do when looking for new snapper spots is Ill find a large area of hardbottoom and i will circle for a while looking for some relief of any kind ( a big rock or ledge) If its a ledge I will cruise both north and south then east to west to find the direction it does. Cruise that ledge and watch that bottom. I like to find fish off of the bottom, doesn't have to be super high. Find something that looks good. Grunts will be there. Get them chewing. I grunt fish always before i start snapper fishing its gets the whole bottom fired up. My standard leader is 20lb, i like to freeline with a light jighead. Use cut thread fins, sardines, and live white bait. chum with a block and mash up those thread fins. If free-lining isn't your thing. Use a knocker rig with a light lead depending on the current use the lightest possible. If that isnt your thing use a long leader on your bottom rig and bring it a couple of cranks of the bottom, grunts mainly feed on the bottom but snapper and grouper will eat higher. Remember some days snapper just wont do what you want them to do. Keep at it your on the right track. Feel free to Message me and I can help you dial it in a little more.
  • spdtspdt Posts: 10 Greenhorn
    Thanks for the tips. I really appreciate it. I think we're on the right track. Just need to take a little more time finding good spots and need to chum a little more. Looking forward to getting out after this week's rough weather passes. Thanks again.
  • FusionZ06FusionZ06 Posts: 960 Officer
    If you are catching grunts there are other good fish around.
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