Gulf & Intracoastal Fishing

By Fishin’ Frank

OK let’s talk where to go fishing I think as this is the first Month of the year lets start off in the gulf. Grouper and Snapper King mackerel and many more type of fish to be had and here is a spot not too far off the coast. It is an old Barge that sunk 10.3 miles from Boca pass really a bit closer to Captiva Pass.

I would take two different types of Rod and reel set ups the 1st would be a 30 size two speed conventional with a 6-foot rod maybe a bit shorter and stout, with 65 to 80-pound test braid and 6 once sinker with a 60 pound floro carbon leader I tie on a 7/0 Circle hook VMC makes a good one. From the hook to the swivel I like about 3 feet of leader more or less is OK, I use a 150-pound test AFW Swivel I don’t want shiny I like the dull finish, if I use a shiny black or Silver colored Swivel when I am fighting a fish other fish see the shiny thing and try to eat it, which often means they will bite through my fishing line. Dull finish is better for this. The swivel is used to keep the sinker and I use an egg sinker 6 once slid on to my line before I tie on the swivel Keeps the weight away from my hook.

For bait on this set up I like frozen Spanish sardines not too expensive and they really catch fish. Why because they are stinky soft oily nasty bait which everything likes to eat. One problem with Spanish sardines is that they are difficult to keep on the hook and tend to fall off if you are not really gentle, So I use a trick to keep them on the hook, I lay a whole Squid on its side then slice a cross section of it maybe ½ inch. The piece I cut when held up looks like a circle or thick rubber band. Now I take that and put it over the head of the Sardine and put the hook through the Squid and through the sardine coming out the other side and through the squid again making a keeper for the bait the hook is through both and the Squid is really tough and so the sardine stays on the hook. And I catch fish.

Now for the snapper I tend to use spinning tackle A 50 or 60 size reel with a 6 to 6’6” rod and 30 or 40-pound test braided line, with a 2 once sinker then tie the line to your swivel and again leave about 3 feet of 40-pound test floro leader to a 2/0 circle hook. This is my Snapper rig and for bait I put on a chunk of Squid which does work well, But I find that the fish prefer Shrimp Live shrimp have always seemed to be the best bait for Snappers and grunts but the fish will steal them right off your hook So again I go back to the Squid, cut a thin slice of Squid and put that on the hook then Put the live shrimp on hooked through the head. The fish will whack the Shrimp and maybe get away with it without being hooked. So if you feel the bite and miss the fish let it fall back down a bit and wait the fish will come back for the Squid which is still on the hook and tap, tap, tap, of the bite and start reeling you got it, this time.

I understand you can use the sardine without the squid collar, or just the shrimp with out the Squid back up or just a squid alone is very good bait, and if I am going after big fish with squid I use it whole and put the hook through the pointy end twice to keep it on and let the tentacles hang, this is a very good way when I first drop a bait down I like to use larger baits to see if the big fish will hit, once you get things going the smaller fish are quicker and more aggressive So even though the large fish are there they are not as quick as some of the smaller one.
As a last thought when I come up to a place in the gulf to bottom fish I get close to the mark and then stop the boat and turn the wheel hard to the left and then put the boat back 9in gear and slowly circle watching the bottom machine for signs of structure, as when a see something I toss a buoy over the back of the boat so I have a point to reference, a G.P.S. Is almost impossible to get right back on the spot a buoy gives you something to see. I would say the only other thing not to do is fall in love with where you drop the anchor.

Fishin’ Franks Bait & Tackle 4425-D Tamiami Trail Charlotte Harbor FL 33980  941-625-3888 – Fishin’ Franks Tackle Shop 14531 N. Cleveland Ave. Ft. Myers, 33903 239-634-1043