Snappers are Snappin’ in Summerland Key!!

I love this time of year!! There is lobster diving during the day and tons of snapper in the evening. It’s too hot?? No problem. Spend your day in the water….or go out fishing when the sun goes down. Need to fish in the daytime? No problem. You can fill a cooler by 10am and finish your day by taking a dip in the pristine waters off of Looe Key or one of the other Maritime parks we have located near us in the Lower Keys. No matter what time of trip you want you have some goodies to choose from here in the world famous Lower Florida Keys!!

On one recent trip we did a split trip option…..which is where we go out for a half day trip, come back to the dock and the customers get a chance to go get a bite and/or a nap and shower, and then we meet up later to head back out for some more fun!! We started off taking advantage of the incoming tide to go lobster hunting on the Gulf side of the Keys. We arrived to the grounds to find a lot of boats(it is opening week so we kind of expected that) but some openings that we could see. We started out drifting over some nice ledgy areas, but with the heavy fishing pressure over the previous several days, the pickings were slim. We ended up catching about 30 lobster or so but only a handful were keepers. Oh well. Everybody had a great time and there was enough lobster to make a couple of meals for my crew. We got back to the dock about 1pm and the decision was made to meet back up at 6pm for an afternoon/evening snapper trip.

6pm arrives and we load our stuff into the Triton and point our nose South East towards the snapper grounds. Armed with a well full of beautiful pinfish, a cooler full of ballyhoo and chum blocks, we were ready to catch some fish!! We arrive at the first area and it’s looking good. We set up, deploy a chum bag, and start drifting lines back in as natural a presentation as possible. It didn’t take long for us to start to catch fish, but they were mostly small Yellow Tail Snapper. Some were legal, but you can’t get much meat off of a 12″ fish. So as the sun was setting we made a move to another area I like about 2 miles away. Again we show up, again it looks fishy, and again we set up and deploy a chum bag. It doesn’t take long for us to realize that we made a good decision to move because the chum slick is full of juvenile mangrove snapper. Our goal was to try and target the larger snapper holding under the smaller fish so we loaded up the 5000 series gear and started floating back live baits towards the waiting fish. We started getting bit almost instantly and it was nonstop catching for the next 2hrs. We didn’t slaughter them, but we had a solid 2lb average on the Mangroves with a few nice fish that ran us into the rocks. We fished until we ran out of livies and then headed to the barn. All in all it was a great day with a great crew and plenty of groceries to go around. Did I mention I love this time of year in the Lower Keys?!?

Until next time, Tight Lines!

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  1. Kirk McCarthy says:

    Sounds Fantastic…
    My fishing buddy from Rhode island is coming down to enjoy a couple of days of fishing with you next week… if you can, put them on a mahi mahi…won’t complain about some nice snapper…
    Thanks again Kirk

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