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how the heck do you catch red snapper?

Old 07-21-2014, 11:45 AM
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Default how the heck do you catch red snapper?

Ok, here it goes...

I wouldn't normally post in a forum but you guys seem so knowledgeable about everything related to fishing I cant resist.

I am obviously new to Bottom fishing. I fish out of Cape Canaveral. I have been taking advice from locals to try to teach myself and have been trying the different advice for the last three weeks and have not caught 1 snapper nor grouper, In fact I only caught SHARKS! Literally have caught nothing but sharks for three weeks straight.
I keep hearing about looking for the "Christmas tree" on my FF and I would love to know what that looks like if anyone has a pic of that.
Basically what I am asking is what should I look for on my FF to know to try fishing in that spot. I hear bout "Swiss Cheese" and many other terms but I dont know what that would look like on my FF.
Also, the last time I went (yesterday) I found what looked like a good bottom (to me) and fished it all day with Cigar minnows, squid, live pinfish, live grunts, cut bait and still caught al sharks. I am obviously doing something wrong. Could you guys maybe tell by everything I post below what I am doing wrong?
Thanks

1) I got to public reefs about 18-22 miles offshore in bout 90ft and look for a bottom that has spikes then a mark it with a buoy and try fishing all around it with live pinfish or cigar minnow's or squid and even butterfly some grunts and try that. Live bait is bout size of my hand.

2) I am using 100# braid with 100# mono leader. Leader is bout 6 ft long.
Using 10-12oz sliding sinker and 7/0 or 8/0 circle hook.

3) I've tried dropping line all the way to bottom, I've also tried cranking it up bout 6 turns and I I've also tried keeping it up bout 20ft off bottom. But I still only get 3 ft sharks on every drop!

4) Do I just look for a hard bottom and then start dropping lines there or do I look for hard bottom and wait to mark fish and then drop lines? What should my FF look like when I am looking for a spot to fish for snapper before I drop my lines?

Please help, next week is last week for snapper season here.
Thanks again
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:57 AM
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Default how the heck do you catch red snapper?

sent u a pm
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:11 PM
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Hire a local guide to go with you on your boat. Learn the waters and what works.
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:13 PM
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Or even cheaper, go out on a head boat and tip the mate up front.

Originally Posted by v12mac View Post
Hire a local guide to go with you on your boat. Learn the waters and what works.
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by keysdisease View Post
Or even cheaper, go out on a head boat and tip the mate up front.
The bonus of going no your rig is learning the bottom machine.
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:25 PM
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best way for me to catch red snapper is wait til they are not legal to catch lol

As for bottom fishing reefs I can give you general advice. make sure you are fishing directly over the reef. You will see the structure and fish on the depth finder. If you are off by as much as 20 feet you will not catch fish. based on you catching sharks I would think you are not over the structure.

A good way to tell if you are over the structure is to drop a 2 inch square piece of squid on a 2/0 circle hook to the bottom, then crank up one or at most two cranks off the bottom. If you have the bait after 5 minutes you are not over the structure. You should ideally feel the bite immediately.

Your leader is a bit heavy but that I don't think that is the main issue, and if the current is not that strong you can go with less weight.

What type of Depth finder do you have? My old Garmin used to look like the pic below when I was anchored up over good structure. My new hummingbird just has colored marks that took me awhile to get used to seeing when I am over the fish. but now I can clearly see the color difference on the Hummingbird finder when I am over fish.

Also the sonar is not reliable at Identifying Fish when I am moving at cruising speed but is fine when I am going slow. And yes the old Transducer did not do water Temperature. So that reading is a bit off in the accompanying pic. I Do not have a good pic of my current depth finders screen
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:31 PM
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Come up to Ponce, These pics were from our first day.
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:54 PM
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I am in the same boat. Went out the opening weekend out of Ponce and all I got was baby sharks in about 70 feet of water. Annoying for sure.
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:13 PM
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I know about local guides and head boats but another option is to read and post on this forum so for now I am trying to learn as much as I can on this forum first.
Suggesting another place to find the information really isnt helping. I am choosing this place for the help.
By the way im so jealous of those pics
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:14 PM
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I'm in the same boat. Spent all day catching little sharks out of ponce. Any willing PM's would help
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by sharkfighter View Post
best way for me to catch red snapper is wait til they are not legal to catch lol

As for bottom fishing reefs I can give you general advice. make sure you are fishing directly over the reef. You will see the structure and fish on the depth finder. If you are off by as much as 20 feet you will not catch fish. based on you catching sharks I would think you are not over the structure.

A good way to tell if you are over the structure is to drop a 2 inch square piece of squid on a 2/0 circle hook to the bottom, then crank up one or at most two cranks off the bottom. If you have the bait after 5 minutes you are not over the structure. You should ideally feel the bite immediately.

Your leader is a bit heavy but that I don't think that is the main issue, and if the current is not that strong you can go with less weight.

What type of Depth finder do you have? My old Garmin used to look like the pic below when I was anchored up over good structure. My new hummingbird just has colored marks that took me awhile to get used to seeing when I am over the fish. but now I can clearly see the color difference on the Hummingbird finder when I am over fish.

Also the sonar is not reliable at Identifying Fish when I am moving at cruising speed but is fine when I am going slow. And yes the old Transducer did not do water Temperature. So that reading is a bit off in the accompanying pic. I Do not have a good pic of my current depth finders screen
Sharkfighter, this helped a ton and is exactly the kind of info I am looking for. Any chance of getting same kind of pic not directly over the reef so I can compare. My bottom looked similar to that this weekend but all sharks. is it easy to mistake a sandy bottom for a reef or are they clearly visible and different on my FF. its a garmin 741xs by the way.
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:22 PM
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I talked to a local guy who constantly slays big ones. His advice to me was to keep it nowhere near the bottom. About halfway down. I tried it and it worked. I have even caught some 15#s on top of the water using a balloon rig.
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:25 PM
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Have you tried searching the word "snapper" in thread titles? It showed 240 threads. I would do that and start perusing. If I had any helpful information, I'd be glad to share it, but we don't have snapper up here.
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:41 PM
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I'm not to sure about how to find them on the Atlantic side, but over here in the gulf, have to look for decent bottom and then a show on the bottom machine. Also need to step down your gear. Way overkill and the fish can prob see it. I usually use 60lb braid and 40lb leader with a 4 or 6 oz weight
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:46 PM
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Buy some numbers!
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Poseidonistaken View Post
Buy some numbers!
Thats actually crossed my mind...problem is it doesnt help me learn, which is way more important than just catching snapper.
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Old 07-21-2014, 03:03 PM
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I agree that you need to step down your tackle. We don't get many ARS down here but plenty of Muttons and they would be spooked by 100lb lines. The few ARS I have caught have been on 40-50 lb braid and Floro leader. The current will dictate weight size.
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Old 07-21-2014, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by fatfonzi View Post
Thats actually crossed my mind...problem is it doesnt help me learn, which is way more important than just catching snapper.
There is nothing wrong with your technique, I think the numbers your fishing are fished out!
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Old 07-21-2014, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Poseidonistaken View Post
There is nothing wrong with your technique, I think the numbers your fishing are fished out!
Then I need advice on what to look for to find my own numbers
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Old 07-21-2014, 03:26 PM
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over kill on the tackle unless you are fishing some serious wrecks. Id downsize to much smaller, and get off the braid. 40lb line, 50lb leader should be fine.

What setup on a depthfinder are you using, what Hz on the frequency etc.
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