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Offshore fishing

Can someone please give me some tips for fishing Offshore out of fort myers florida. I would like to target snapper, cobia, grouper, and pretty much good game fish. We have a 2660 sailfish we would be using. Could anyone just give me a basic guide for this? I'm not looking for exact spots, thanks!


  • All JAKED UpAll JAKED Up Posts: 40 Deckhand
    Also if you don't mind weather for offshore and tides could you give me some pointers.
  • wellcraftwellcraft Posts: 1,333 Officer
    Not my area but you might want to try further down the forum look for the specific region sub section
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  • NaplesOffshoreNaplesOffshore Posts: 284 Officer
    I was in the same position as you last June. I moved down here and had no clue what I was doing. I am by no means an expert, I learn something new every time I go out, but 9 out of ten times I don't have an issue getting a limit or close to of reds. They are actually pretty easy to catch, finding the big ones is a bit more difficult though.

    The very first thing I would suggest you do is go to Walmart and buy a map, it will be the best 25 bucks you ever spent. All the reefs are marked with GPS coordinates and the hard bottom, that your looking for, is marked as "grouper bottom". After that its a matter of spending time and money fishing those areas, cause the map will tell you the general area, now you have to find the "spot on the spot". So it just takes time to narrow down where the big ones like to hang out.

    I use a jig with a jerk shad, or a worm. I prefer Zman. Those usually out perform just about anything, except for lately since it got colder, the big ones have been wanting big bait, like 10 inchers. Also right now I am finding big eye jigs are working well for the big ones, in contrast to the warmer months to where it doesn't really matter what kind of jig head you use.

    Adjust the weight of your jig so that you stay vertical, I have found grouper do not like it as much when your dragging. I wouldn't fish a spot longer than 10-15 minutes without catching a red, if you haven't caught one in that long, they are not there. The little ones smash your jig, the big ones you barely know they are there. They usually hit it as soon as it hits the bottom, so make sure your checking for any line pressure as soon as you get down there, if you feel anything at all, rip their jaws off. They eat crab all day long, so the inside of their mouth is very tough, so the hook set is crucial. Its not a long stroke, short fast to pop that hook through.

    Some guys attach live bait to their Jig worm/shad rig. Squid works great. They also will hit cut bait, they love heads. I don't use live bait often simply because it will get hit every single time, and the little ones seem to get there first. I find staying artificial I catch a little less fish, but I catch more keepers this way, it sometimes keeps the little guys off the hook.

    Presentation is key, sometimes they like it laying right on the bottom with no movement, sometimes I have to pop or jerk my jig to get them to bite. Its different every time.

    You can also use jerk spoons they will usually hit those. Yozuri has one that absolutely annihilates the grouper (forget what its called). Its a 3-4 ounce bullet head with 2 little artificial squid. 2 little tiny hooks are roped on the bullet. The only problem I have with these is they are like 20 bucks each, and the grouper usually destroy them in a couple of hours. Honestly thats half the battle for me, finding something that works that they don't destroy after 3 fish.

    So to recap, set the hook hard. Dont let them get in the hole. Find hard bottom, and if your catching lizard fish, your probably in the wrong spot.

    Thats my 2 cents on red fishing here in SWFL, hope this helps.
  • NaplesOffshoreNaplesOffshore Posts: 284 Officer
    Here is a pic of that Yozuri Bullet I mentioned, if they won't hit that, they won't hit anything.

  • All JAKED UpAll JAKED Up Posts: 40 Deckhand
    Thank you very much!, it is greatly appreciated.
  • All JAKED UpAll JAKED Up Posts: 40 Deckhand
    My question now is how to I chose a jig or lure? And how do I use it? Cause I've hear that you troll sometimes, drift sometimes, and above it seems like this means drifting and just dropping the jig to the bottom and reeling up?
  • frankiezfrankiez Posts: 396 Deckhand
    Remember the phrase "CRANK. Dont yank". Like Naples said once you feel the tension of a fish, start cranking. Your battle is the bottom 5' or so. Once you get them off the bottom so they no longer can take you in a hole, your battle is pretty much won. Kinda like dead weight. Good luck.
  • NaplesOffshoreNaplesOffshore Posts: 284 Officer
    My question now is how to I chose a jig or lure? And how do I use it? Cause I've hear that you troll sometimes, drift sometimes, and above it seems like this means drifting and just dropping the jig to the bottom and reeling up?

    You don't need to troll for reds. Right now your gonna need a 2-4 ounce jig.

    The idea is to use the lightest possible jig that keeps you vertical. In the warm months when its flatter out there my go to is a 1.5 ounce, but sometimes I will get all the way down to a 1 ounce.

    You want the lightest possible jig that keeps you vertical because they hit on the fall most of the time, so the slower the fall the bigger the window is for a bite.
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