Snappin' the Snapper - 06/19/18

Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,280 Captain
I ran out with Kyle and Jake to target mangrove snapper and then to fill limits of ARS. The first goal was pretty easy since Jake is an expert at free lining snapper. After we put 30 mangroves in the box, we fished a couple of known spots for reds.  Turns out that a lot of spots are either getting fished out or the snapper are wising up to the fishing pressure. We only managed 3 red snappers and a bunch of short grouper the rest of the afternoon. 

All fish were caught on cut threadfins in 52-60 ft of water.


  • mburke001 aka TripleBmburke001 aka TripleB Posts: 1,105 Officer

  • barhopper51barhopper51 Posts: 542 Officer
    Love those Mango's
  • k-dogk-dog Posts: 149 Deckhand
    Doc you free line shrimp or cut bait for mangroves
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,280 Captain
    These would only hit cut bait, not shrimp. 

    They pretty much just hit whatever you use for chum. 
  • Rick1-2Rick1-2 HorseshoePosts: 881 Officer
    nice mess
  • SloughSlough S.w. Ga./ St. JamesPosts: 4,508 Captain
    Good dill!
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you
  • PicmanPicman Posts: 93 Greenhorn
    Tell Me where to catch Mangoes and I'll put you on Reds..
  • PicmanPicman Posts: 93 Greenhorn
    private of course..

  • spearjunkyspearjunky Posts: 163 Deckhand
    I have only seen mangroves like that in 3 places and you just can't catch them like that I need a education on that, great job I'm going to try it again on Friday
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,280 Captain
    There are actually good numbers of mangroves in lots of places off of Citrus and Hernando counties. You just don't catch them when fishing for grouper. Most of the artificial reefs and all of the wrecks have mangroves. So do a lot of high relief natural bottom areas in the Parking Lot west of Homosassa in 25-35 ft of water. They hang close to structure during the day, so they are hard to see on sonar. 

    They are much more willing to bite at night or at first light in the morning. But with some overcast, you can catch them during the day. The trick is to anchor the boat up current of the structure you're targeting and get them fired up with chum. You need to pull them off of the structure and up in the water column. The tide needs to be moving. Then, and this is the hard part, you need to use just the right amount of weight on the free line to get the bait to move with the chum. Let them take the bait and run for a second or two and then close the bail and start reeling. Use 20 lb fluoro leader and small hooks well embedded in the bait. You have to match the bait with the chum.  Small pieces of threadfin or shrimp. Don't mix it up. 

    It's pretty much like fishing for yellowtails in the Keys. Getting them to hit and hooking them on a free lined bait is a real skill.  I'm not very good at it myself. But Jake, one of the Angler Bros, really put on a clinic Tuesday as he has several times before on my boat.

    They are also suckers for live whitebait if you can get it. You can fish this on the bottom, particularly around wrecks. 

    The abundance of mangroves in the shallower areas varies from year to year. Cold winters (like this last one) cause the fish to move deeper than 35 ft. Freezes also kill a lot of the little ones found inshore.  These are the ones that move out to the 25-35' areas as they get larger.  Most of the ones over 20" move even further out. I'm surprised that the mangroves held up pretty well after this past winter.  But the cold moved them around. Some of the 30' spots that had been very reliable no longer have very many fish. And there are reports of lots of small mangroves out on the Middle Grounds. So the cold seems to have moved them out early. 
  • SkinnywaterDaveSkinnywaterDave Clermont,FLPosts: 13 Greenhorn
    Thats the way we've been doing it and its been working well in 35'. The issue is when the spanish macks get in the chum slick and you can't get a bait past them...
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,280 Captain
    If you don't use a chum block, you'll attract fewer Spanish. But they can always be a problem. 
  • acme54321acme54321 Posts: 304 Deckhand
    How are you guys finding the mangroves in deeper water?  Known wrecks and stuff or looking for ledges and hoping to find them?  What kind of weight are you using on your rigs?  In the keys we've always just freelined with no weight.  
  • LMKLMK Posts: 553 Officer
    Great information right there, thank you!!!
  • SkinnywaterDaveSkinnywaterDave Clermont,FLPosts: 13 Greenhorn
    We freeline baits but if current is stout we'll use a splitshot. Those snapper can get you in the rocks pretty quick so getting them chummed up higher in the water column helps. We used to spearfish a lot out in the 35' zone and the rock piles with higher relief is where we'd see the mangroves in numbers.
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,280 Captain
    Yep. What he said. There is no "right" amount of weight. You just try to get your bait moving with the chum. Cast into the chum after it starts to sink. 

    High relief of any type with undercuts is where they hang out. I figured that out from diving also. 
Sign In or Register to comment.