Summertime Snapper

By: Capt. Bruce Andersen

In the Florida Keys, we’ve got a lot of different types of fishing available to us all year round. One type of fishing that always stands out for me is the snapper fishing available on the reef in the months of June through August. Fishing on the edge of the reef for Mangrove, yellowtail, and mutton snapper in depths from 30 to 90 feet of water can be very productive this time of year, especially for the mangroves. The last few years this type of fishing stayed hot all the way through the summer and should be a great option through the month of August this summer.

Around the mangroves, I will anchor on the shallow side of any of my normal reef spots that I fish the rest of the year. Usually in about 40 feet of water just inshore of my normal yellowtail spots, I’ll chum heavy, and drift cut baits back in the chum slick on light 12-pound tackle and ¼ to ½ ounce jig heads while also fishing live baits like pilchards or cigar minnows on the bottom. I can usually get away with using relatively light tackle on the bottom as well. I’ll make up a rig on 20 lb. spinning tackle with a 2-ounce lead, a few feet of 30 lb. fluorocarbon leader and a light wire circle hook in the 2/0 to 5/0 size range depending on the size of the bait.

Most days if the conditions are right, the mangroves and yellowtail will come up in the chum right behind the boat. There are even many days where the mangrove snapper will be eating the chum just a few feet behind the chum bag! On the bottom I will usually pick some of the bigger mangroves, and I have got a excellent chance at some mutton snapper as well.

If I haven’t caught any muttons by the time I’m finished on the reef, I may want to head out to a little deeper water. So far this summer we’ve seen some phenomenal fishing for the muttons out in the 150-to-200-foot depths on hard bottom or areas around wrecks. If you would like to get out to the reef, get in on the action, and see what it’s all about give me a call and I would be happy to show you how we do it!

You can reach Captain Bruce Andersen at Capt. Easy Charters,
MM 85, call 305.360.2120 or email at: