With the gag and red grouper seasons closed, it’s time to focus on light-tackle fishing offshore for snapper. One technique I have used for a few years is chum. I buy a couple of blocks, toss them into the water next to the boat and let them do their work. The trick to getting bottom fish riled up is to get the chum on or near the bottom. Tie the chum to your anchor before you deploy it; a bit of light mono will do the trick. You could also use a downrigger and tie the block to the ball and let it down to the desired depth. Snappers have great eyesight and are wary when they feed. The best way to ensure a great bite is to downsize your tackle to lightweight spinning outfits with 10- to 15-pound mono on the reel and 15-pound fluorocarbon leader. A small circle hook will get the job done. A small plug of sardine floating down toward the structure with your hook in it will get the attention of mangrove and lane snapper. For yellowtails and Spanish flag, used a medium-sized live shrimp.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.