PRO INSIDER: Red Snapper an Easy Offshore Target

Red snapper has been the first target on trips offshore this last week, and it could not get much easier.

These fish can stack 100 feet off of the bottom in some spots. Since there are so many fish on each spot use any number of techniques to catch them. Red snapper have ferocious appetites and usually devour any live or frozen bait. During a feed the larger and more dominant snapper will move up in the water column. To target these fish use a knocker rig — a smaller egg lead usually about a quarter- to half-ounce placed on the main line right above the hook. The smaller lead will present the bait to look like a stunned baitfish sinking to the bottom and therefore an easy target. A more traditional style of fishing is a standard fish finder rig — a sliding lead on the main line, then a swivel, connected to a length of leader and finished off with the hook. Drop this rig to the bottom baited with a sardine, then reel up about 20 to 30 feet of line (depending on depth) and wait for the hit. While bottom fishing at anchor have a flat lined bait swimming behind the boat. Many schools of mahi were in depths of 110 feet and more lately. A surface bait out will usually yield action, and perhaps a fish of a lifetime, such as a sailfish or a big wahoo.

Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and

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