Into the Dark

Capt. Bart Marx

Hello fellow anglers, September is here and we are two thirds of the way to New Years.  Wow, it has been hot in our area and the rains have been minimal; the Gulf waters have been very warm/hot and the fish seem to move slower like we do when it is hot. The way to avoid the heat would be to do some night fishing. Yes, there are some of us that will go out into the dark just to catch some fish. Depending on the moon phase, there could be plenty of light. Some like to venture out on the full moon, I don’t mind going when the moon is growing towards full. This may seem like lots of work, but it is cooler at night so it makes it worth it. Get all your plans together and target some of snappers, mangroves, yellowtails and lanes to harvest for great table fare.  Also at night grouper will feed; we have mostly targeted snapper at night and grouper is a by-catch.  When targeting snappers at night, it is good practice to down size on  tackle. I like a 4000-6000 size reel with a smooth drag and fill the spool with 20 or 30 pound braid. And I like to use a 20 pound leader with circle hooks starting with a 1/0. Depending on your style some would use a fish finder rig, chicken rig, or a knocker rig. If you believe in one of these you will fish it and catch fish. There are different methods- some like to chum, using ground up fish parts, some use macaroni noodles soaked in menhaden oil, oatmeal, and sand and chum mixed. I have an old school Chum-Churn you fill it with small fish and slam it up and down in the water where it chops up the fish and they float out of the tool while hanging in the water. Keeping an eye on it, you slam it every 10 to 15 minutes to keep the flow going and refill when needed. Once again it seems like a lot to prepare for night fishing, but when you have it all in place and your efforts bring a harvest of some fine snappers, it is worth it! Also offshore this month you may encounter some of the bull reds that are coming to feed on the many baits that are along the beach and in the bays. They are fattening up for their swim out into the Gulf for spawning. You could find a school along the coast and have a blast, those bull reds really can test your tackle. Also, red grouper can be found starting at 70  feet and AJ’s out deeper on  structure. During your day trips always try and put a flat line out away from your rods with a sardine or some type of live bait with a little wire for the toothy critters like cuda’s or king’s. Doing this while you are bottom fishing can be productive. When you are reeling up fish from the depths they purge their stomach and it creates its own natural underwater slick, that attracts kings, etc.

Last red snapper for the season; 24” 12# on the “Reel Job” w/ Capt. Bart.

If you would like to experience a night or day trip with Capt. Bart Marx call and schedule your offshore experience, 941-979-6517 or e-mail me at Or just go to my web site to check pricing and learn a little about the crew: If you make the phone call I will respond quicker. And always remember singing drags and tight lines make me smile. <*(((((>{