Winter Bottom Fishing On Shallow Water Reefs In South Florida
Most people don't associate winter time with snapper and certainly not in 10 ft of water!
Well the other day my GF Brook and I headed offshore with a cooler full of fish carcasses and old bait, that I was getting rid of. My deep freezer was full and instead of tossing it in the trash, I decided to put it back where it came from! Our original plan was to head to a shallow reef in Ft. Lauderdale and swim with whatever came up to the old bait. We were very curious as to how many species we would see, but unsure as this time of year can be tricky with cold water moving in and cold fronts hutting species down.
Well the reef was teeming with life! Everything came into our chum slick, eels, snapper, bonito, mackerel, sharks, tropicals and much more. Towards the end of chumming we noticed some larger mangrove snapper start to move in and get very curious. We quickly got out of the water and became fishing in our chum. The snapper were fired up and we were catching so many we were letting plenty of bigger keeper fish go, as the limit is only 5 per person per day. We continued to fish for the mangrove snapper into the dark and honestly must have caught 4 a piece only keeping the biggest ones. The largest snapper was 23 in and around 5 lbs! Moral of the story is if you ever have old unwanted bait, save it freeze it and chum with it. You never know what will come into your chum slick!
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Ok so you've caught your mangrove snapper, how are you going to prepare it for dinner?