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Unpredictable September Fishing

September 12, 2014

Fishing in September can be very unpredictable. The bite on the edge has really tapered off. A few wahoo and even fewer kings have most anglers running offshore looking for dolphin, deep dropping for swords, and everyone begging for those first coldfronts to push south so our fall pattern will get underway. The only guaranteed, can’t miss, anybody can do it fishing this time of year is snapper fishing.

Snapper fishing has been red hot the last few weeks. Lot’s of yellowtail, mutton and mangrove snapper. Along quite a few cobia, a few groupers, kingfish, runners, AJ’s and cero mackerel. The best bite has been on the outside of the 3rd reef from 95 feet into 60 feet. Most of my guys fish 20 pound conventional outfits, a 3/0 to 5/0 circle hook tied onto a 8 to 10 foot 20 pound leader, flouro is great if you don’t mind the cost but definitely not a must, and just enough weight to get to the bottom. 
Contrary to what most people think the lighter the weight the better. You want to fish your way to the bottom rather than rocket ship a 8 ounce lead straight down. Snappers are notoriously sketchy, especially muttons, so you want to get the bait well away from the boat and continue to "spool" out once you get to the bottom. It’s not uncommon to have 300 yards or more out before getting smoked by a big mutton.
On the partboats we always drift but anchoring and chumming is another highly effective way to put snappers in the box. Find good bottom, throw the hook, and break out the bionic bait chum. Spinning rods are better for anchor fishing because the line lays off the spool easier. Again light weight is key, start with just enough weight to get to the bottom and as the fish start to get up in the chum start to lighten the weights. If it all goes right you can get them close enough and catch them with no weight at all.

Try these same techniques around some of our wrecks and deeper reefs for bigger muttons and groupers, just beef up the tackle a little and watch the weather if we get any kind of tropical disturbance the bottom fishing usually goes crazy for a few days after the storm.


Good luck,

Capt. Skip, Helen S Driftfishing 

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