Updated: Jul 6, 2021
On Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the popular 2021 Gulf red snapper recreational season will open June 4 and run through July 28, with a possible fall reopening if quota is available. DeSantis says this will be the longest summer season anglers will have since the beginning of the set season by the FWC for fishing in the state and federal waters off Florida.
With the coming opening of the season, we have some tips to help you get your fish.
Use the right bait for the job: Cigar minnows and pilchards ( basically larger sardines, so buy them specifically for bigger fish) are great for bigger fish like red snapper due to their shiny, eye-catching features.
Know where the fish are: Red snappers are both shallow and deep water dwellers. They usually huddle near protective structures and hang out at depths between 30 - 200 ft.
Get Chummy: Your opportunities get much better If you can pinpoint a red snapper feeding grounds in more shallow waters. Try to whip them into a feed frenzy and use a wide-area chumming strategy. Take a nice bunch of chunked fish and start chumming around the perimeter.
Get Jigging with it: No live bait? Try your luck with some shiny metal lures. Vertical jigs help emulate an easy bite to red snappers. This will require a bit of finessing, but vertical jigs will work when needed.
Line and Sinker: Use a heavy-duty pole and Drop these live baits deep down and you may be able to coax some heavy hitters out of holes and deep covered areas.
Stay Current: A quiet vessel is a key, the type of boat you use can determine the overall success of your voyage. If your boat creates too much noise or stirs up the water it could risk causing a mass exodus from favored hiding spots.
Red snappers prefer bait that stays in one place against the current and the ocean current will take anything that is not secured. Stronger currents also call for heavier tackle and no mistakes when hooking live bait.
Double Bite: Wait for the second hit on the line and then pull the hook in. Snapper test on the first hit and usually won't fulling bite. When you get that hit on the line, don’t yank it in immediately. Wait for the second hit on the line and then pull the hook in.
* TIP: A good hook for this type of fish is the circle hook. This hook doesn’t require any of that jerking action. It requires a steady hand and patience, but the circle hook is full-proof here.
Just reel it in slowly and you won’t need to play tug-of-war too much.