The fishing of late has been tricky with the cold fronts we’ve been having but still managing to catch fish and have had some stellar speckled sea trout days.
As usual this time of year my goal is to catch a variety of species and have good action. Lately we’ve been catching trout, sheepshead, snapper, jacks, a few pompano, a few redfish and smaller snook.
Floats with a 1/4 oz jig suspended about three feet below it with a live shrimp works for trout as well as sheepshead, snapper and redfish. We also use 3/8 oz. jigs with a swirl tail, shrimp imitation and pink surgical tube jigs for all the above species.
Our peak busy season is here so book now for best tides and availability for the rest of January thru May.
Mangrove snapper tactics
Catching mangrove snapper in Southwest Florida can be a rewarding experience, and these fish are often found around structures such as mangroves, docks, bridges, and reefs. Here are some specific tactics you can employ to target mangrove snapper in this region:
- Use Live Bait: Mangrove snapper are known for their preference for live bait. Shrimp, pilchards (whitebait), pinfish, and small crabs are excellent choices. Hook the live bait through the nose or behind the head to give it a natural presentation.
- Chumming: Create a chum slick by tossing small amounts of cut bait, shrimp, or fish scraps into the water. This can attract mangrove snapper to your fishing location and entice them to feed.
- Light Tackle and Leader: Use light to medium spinning or baitcasting tackle to feel the subtle bites. Mangrove snapper can be line-shy, so consider using a fluorocarbon leader in the 15 to 30-pound range.
- Bottom Fishing: Mangrove snapper are often found near the bottom, so focus your efforts there. Use enough weight to keep your bait close to the structure but not so much that it gets snagged easily.
- Jigging: Vertical jigging with small bucktail jigs or soft plastic jigs can be effective, especially around structures. Drop the jig near the structure and bounce it off the bottom.
- Patience and Stealth: Approach your fishing spot quietly and avoid making loud noises. Mangrove snapper can be cautious, so a stealthy approach is important. Be patient and allow the fish to come to you.
- Time of Day: Mangrove snapper are more active during low-light conditions, such as dawn and dusk. Early morning and late afternoon can be prime times for mangrove snapper fishing.
- Artificial Lures: While live bait is the preferred choice, mangrove snapper can also be caught on artificial lures. Small jigs, soft plastics, and shrimp imitations can work well, especially if the snapper are actively feeding.
- Structure Fishing: Target areas with good structure, such as mangrove roots, docks, pilings, and rocky bottoms. Mangrove snapper like to hang around these structures for both shelter and feeding opportunities.
- Be Mindful of Regulations: Ensure that you are aware of and adhere to fishing regulations, including size limits and bag limits for mangrove snapper. Respect conservation measures to maintain healthy fish populations.
Remember to adapt your tactics based on the specific conditions of the day, and be prepared to experiment with different baits and presentations until you find what works best for the mangrove snapper in your chosen location.