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stubborn Mangrove snapper

My father in law was in town this weekend, so I thought I would take him in the Gulf off Marco Island to catch some mangrove snapper. We went to some spots I have about 14 miles offshore. We located them on the bottom machine, put the chum bag in, and in short order, we had dozens of large mangrove snapper behind the boat. You could almost reach out and touch them...which would have been the closest we would have come to catching them. They would not touch anything I offered. Cut mackerel, cut pinfish, whitebait, and soft plastic baits all seemed to bore them. I have never had much trouble catching mangrove snapper in the past...as they were a reliable catch. After speaking to other anglers in the area, it seems I was not alone, and that many people were finding the snapper bite tough these past few days. As I am relatively new to south Florida fishing, am i missing something about this time of year which makes them a tough catch? Or was it just bad luck? My tackle and methods were the same I have used successfully many times in the past.

Thanks in advance!

Replies

  • snookaffinitysnookaffinity Naples, FLPosts: 1,272 Officer
    Good question. Finding fish, but the bite is slow, if at all. I will be watching with you for an answer.
    "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain
  • FLTXhunterFLTXhunter Posts: 516 Officer
    Fish do some strange things. Catch em up one day and the next they wont touch a thing, even the same thing they loved yesterday. Hard to say what caused it but my mind goes to-
    - what was the current doing?
    - You said you could see the snapper, so was the water unusually clear and if so, what lb. leader and size hooks were you using?
  • pilotpilot Posts: 8 Greenhorn
    The water was clear, but not "crystal clear" if that makes any sense. clean enough to see fish 5-10 ft down. I was using about 15ft of 20lb flourocarbon leader and small hooks between the sizes of 1 and 2/0. I free lined as well as used small split shot. I tried frozen as well as fresh baits. Now I did go a few days earlier to a near shore site about a mile offshore from the Naples pier with some live shrimp and managed to feed them all to blue runners and 2 barely legal mangrove snappers. I did not have live shrimp on my offshore trip, and maybe that would have been the key. If I had not heard other people say the bite has been bad the past few days, i would brush it off as the ins and outs of fishing. But since I have heard multiple people say the bite was off, I was thinking perhaps another local would have some wisdom as to what was causing the slow bite.

    Thanks for your reply.
  • nightflynightfly Posts: 506 Officer
    go back to that same spot at night :fishing :banana
  • FLTXhunterFLTXhunter Posts: 516 Officer
    pilot wrote: »
    The water was clear, but not "crystal clear" if that makes any sense. clean enough to see fish 5-10 ft down. I was using about 15ft of 20lb flourocarbon leader and small hooks between the sizes of 1 and 2/0. I free lined as well as used small split shot. I tried frozen as well as fresh baits. Now I did go a few days earlier to a near shore site about a mile offshore from the Naples pier with some live shrimp and managed to feed them all to blue runners and 2 barely legal mangrove snappers. I did not have live shrimp on my offshore trip, and maybe that would have been the key. If I had not heard other people say the bite has been bad the past few days, i would brush it off as the ins and outs of fishing. But since I have heard multiple people say the bite was off, I was thinking perhaps another local would have some wisdom as to what was causing the slow bite.

    Thanks for your reply.

    Sounds like you did everything right. I'd second nightfly's advice. Nighttime will often cure lockjaw. And we've had some darn good nights on the narshore wrecks at night. Less people, more fish and you never know what will grab the bait. Snook out there become much more careless after dark, as do big mangos.
  • Joe SnookJoe Snook Posts: 468 Deckhand
    Snorkel, mask, fins and speargun... check! Shoot em in the face.

    Sent from my SPH-D710BST using Tapatalk 4 Beta
    southwest florida fishing guide in the beautiful 10k islands, everglades and more www.Joesnook.com
  • Joe SnookJoe Snook Posts: 468 Deckhand
    Joe Snook wrote: »
    Snorkel, mask, fins and speargun... check! Shoot em in the face.

    Sent from my SPH-D710BST using Tapatalk 4 Beta

    tuvu9ery.jpg

    Sent from my SPH-D710BST using Tapatalk 4 Beta
    southwest florida fishing guide in the beautiful 10k islands, everglades and more www.Joesnook.com
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,631 Captain
    When snaps get really, really picky lose the leader and just go with straight 10lb line and allow fresh cut baits to drift and drift away with no lead at all. We're talking the same kind of stuff that yellow-tailing requires when fish just aren't hungry.... good luck and remember there are times when you should leave fish that aren't having any....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • trickshottrickshot Posts: 29 Greenhorn
    come on Joe snook, you can shoot bigger mangos than that with your little spears :fishing... if you go to the spot at night, as stated, it will be game on sir... 10-20lb test may get the fish to bite but will also get your feelings hurt on some of the truck mangos
  • Joe SnookJoe Snook Posts: 468 Deckhand
    Ha! Take me to em mister I got a 54" Riffe steel shaft with a Hawaiin flapper for em to suck on. I have been upgrading my arsenal of fish stickin hardware

    Sent from my SPH-D710BST using Tapatalk 4 Beta
    southwest florida fishing guide in the beautiful 10k islands, everglades and more www.Joesnook.com
  • pilotpilot Posts: 8 Greenhorn
    Great suggestion Joe Snook. However my spearfishing days are probably behind me for a bit. Having 2 young kids has altered my high risk activities a bit. A 54" Riffe is a great Amberjack slayer! We are going to try the night time approach Friday night. On that note, which is better for night time, live or fresh cut bait?

    Thanks again to all for the suggestions.
  • Naples NativeNaples Native Posts: 30 Deckhand
    It seems like free lining at night works best around here. This is not long ago off of Marco
    http://forums.floridasportsman.com/showthread.php?116587-Offshore-Marco-Island-6-15
    Free line cut bait. We had another similar night just last week.
  • pilotpilot Posts: 8 Greenhorn
    Thanks Naples. Not sure we will be hitting 70 ft of water tomorrow night, so yellowtails are out. But hopefully the closer in spots will hold some large hungry mangrove snappers. Looks like a fun trip you guys had.
  • blewitupsirblewitupsir Posts: 774 Officer
    Hers a little trick I use when fish of any type get finicky. First as Capt Bob, said downsize the gear. You may get schooled, but at least your getting bit. Put a chunk of bait on the hook and hide it as well as you can. Cut up some chunks the same size and the as you toss the chunks have your anglers toss the hooked baits at the same time. Gotta try and match the natural fall and drift and hopefully fool em. During the day it's not unusual to catch a few and then they shut down. Fish deserve way more credit in the smarts dept then folks give em. But that's all part of the fun.
    http://hopefishing.comFishing the Florida Everglades National Park with Hope Fishing Adventures.
  • Capt Dan MedinaCapt Dan Medina Posts: 814 Officer
    Downgrade line size, mix chum with oats like your yellow tailing. Free line bait naturally into chum slick.
    www.SaltyFishingCharters.com 33 Ft World Cat Tournament Edition Catamaran
    Offshore Fishing Charters FT Myers, Sanibel, Captiva, Cape Coral
  • Seachaser 2600Seachaser 2600 Posts: 32 Deckhand
    Just slayed the mangos in 38 ft of water, caught them to 20 inches on live white baits. We left them biting. Nite trip
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