In To the Deep

Capt. Bart Marx

Hello fellow anglers! Just a few more weeks till 2021, can you believe it? 2020 the year of surprises and first-time occurrences. Offshore possibilities this month depends on the first cold fronts to enter our area that will start the waters to cool off. This will help the migration of bait fish and mackerels. My Pop’s always told me 72° for the kings or somewhere close to that. Kings are fun to cast live baits to, use a little wire and live baits this works well. Sabiki up some thread herring or white bait or even pinfish. Go to an artificial reef that has lots of bait around it and drift or anchor and cast some livies into the schools of bait and hang on. This is my most favorite way to harvest king mackerel! Another technique that is easier to do is you troll the same areas with a #1 planer with wire in front and behind the planer and a 6’-8’ leader with more wire and a king spoon. Troll these only about 30’ – 50’ behind the boat, just into clean water. When you find them, roll through the strike zone, make a U-turn and pull through the same area. In the proper conditions you may have two at a time. Always check the regulations as to how many and size to harvest. I like to cut steaks out of the king about an inch thick, soak them in teriyaki sauce over night and toss them on a hot BBQ grill a few minutes on each side.

Let’s talk about snappers, like lanes, mangroves, and yellowtails. You can find these guys from 60’ – 80’ of water. Lanes like grassy and some rocks where hang out,  mangroves like ledges and low relief wrecks, and the yellowtails like some good size structure. Squid, shrimp, and Spanish sardines are good for lanes and mangroves. Yellowtails are a little more selective; they like small baits freelined drifting down with some chum. I like to use twenty-pound mono leader with a 1/0 VMC circle hook. This is light and strong. most of these places you have to be faster than the Goliath to have yellowtail for dinner. In the deeper waters you will encounter the reef donkey, aka amberjacks. They like live baits too; if you catch a small grunt or pinfish save them and set up a pole for the amberjacks. Also, in the 60’ – 70’ range you can find red and gag grouper on the bottom. Most of the time red grouper will eat dead baits and gags will eat live baits. And this time of year, you may encounter the big bull reds on some of the nearshore artificial reefs. Or you may find them in large schools eating everything in sight.  And always remember singing drags and tight lines make me smile. <*(((((>{