Capt. Bill D’Antuonio
Springtime is upon us and with that brings changes in fishing patterns. Every seasonal change, and even full moons, fishing patterns can change dramatically. Planning and executing that plan will result in more fulfilling time on the water. For red grouper, cooler water means deeper depths. We have been getting some stout red grouper in deeper water in the recent months. Keep in mind NOAA has implemented the 20-fathom rule for all shallow water grouper species, which means they are closed past roughly 120′. Snapper are one of the smarter fish that inhabit our local waters and tricking these fish to take a bait can be challenging. A lot of anglers night fish for mangrove snapper because their keen eyesight is limited and they react to smells and movement.
Moon phases greatly effect fishing eating patterns. Fish will feed all night during a full moon, making the morning bite the next few days lackluster.
We recently ran into a post-full moon conundrum on a recent trip. The plan was to anchor at night on some primo spots, all which were sub-par producing. I ended up moving around at night until about midnight and called it quits; the fish just were not cooperating. We still managed a near limit of grouper and had some nice ones in the box, but pre-full moon we were catching higher end fish. Spearfishing the next day saved that trip. I was limited on fuel, so I had to fish in a straight-line home, I ended up hitting some old spots that produced great. Large lobster, red grouper and mangrove snapper made it onto the stringer. This is where not only being versed in hook and line, but also having the ability to spearfish on these spots when the fish are not cooperating can work in your advantage!