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Old 05-16-2010, 04:31 PM   #1
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Cigar Minnow
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Default New to offshore questions!

Hi all I have a few questions as I am new to the offshore world as of last September. I usaully take the neighbors boys out 10, 11 and 14. They lost there father at very young age and have not had a man around at all. With me not having kids it works out hah.

Wehad a couple good runs last year before it got cold. This spring I have had very little luck, and am wondering what I need to learn to change this.

Getting expensive to go out and get skunked constantly so I hope I can get some advice to help increase my catch rate.

1. I have a HDS 5 Lowrance Fishfinder/Charter and it seems to work well. I usually put it in Shallow water mode and might adjust clairity a bitand sometimes increase the autosensitivty up 3-6%. I have gone overspots I caugth fish on last September and see very little fish returns this Spring. I had a friend give me some other spots and I see the structure fine but little tono fish. I of course drop lines anyway but nothing biting.

Any recommendations here?

2. I have some basic Penn 113's and a 114 reelsmost of which I picked up at pawn shops. I am using 80 lb mono on them. Is that to much? Does line color matter?Also how important is florocarbon leader? I just use the mono most of the time but with my luck down I am wondering...What is a good general hook size to catch Triggers and Snappers of decent size? How long should I make the drop leaders, what lb test leader?

3. I uselarge 2 spinning reels for trolling with 30 lbs test and usually a wire leader. These are nice reels I used for Pompano off thebeach previously.

4. I use squid, cut cigars, and of course live pin fish, live cigars when I have time to get them.

5. Boat is a 2101 Seaswirl. It is obviously designed for fishing but I am limited to really good weather days.

Any help would be appreciated and if anyone would like to share a good trigger spot that would make my day.

I fish primarily out of Destin Pass but do want to venture out to Pensacola soon when we get some consistent good weather.

Thanks all!
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Old 05-16-2010, 05:28 PM   #2
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Default RE: New to offshore questions!

JB, first off all CONGRATULATIONS for getting the kids out on the water. Good thing your doing! To give you my .02. The 80# might be a little much for anything but the bigger/deeper fish. I constantly use 25-35# leader, and I never use fluorocarbon, but some swear by it. For trigger, mingo and such I usually just make dropper loops from my main line about 8 inches long and use 2/0 circle hooks. You'll catch Snapper and Grouper off of them also, but if I'm targeting Snapper/Grouper I'll go to 5/0. If your anchoredtry taking your 30# spinning rod with a small weight, 1/2 to 1 oz weight on the main line with a 5/0 hook and nothing else. The weight can slide up and down the line right to the hook. Put a cig on it and fly line it off the back. You'll be surprised the variety of fish that you'll catch. As for finding fish, well thats something we all go through. Try finding some natural reliefs or larger areas of rubble where the fish are spread out a little. Bait/fish/chum and they will come. Sometimes the fish are not on the bottom so try the whole column. Experiment with diff rigs and setups till you find one. I'm sure others will give their input also. I don't think there is a "RIGHT" way to fish, just ones that work for you. Good Luck and lets see some report with pics!

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Old 05-16-2010, 06:20 PM   #3
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Default RE: New to offshore questions!

It is great that you are taking the time to get the boys out. That is awesome. Like said already use small circle hooks for reigger and small snapper and use a slip rig for bigger bottom fish with 40# and up leader depending on the target. Use from 6/0 to 8/0 circle hooks for big grouper and big live bait ( rubies, sea bass ect...) 80 lb main line is extreme over kill and fishing Destin is a great place to fish. When the fish are real picky lengthen and lessen your leader. In other words go longer and lighter. Decrease the size of the hook also, you will get way more good bites and evn loose a few good fish because the rock you up. But you will increase the bite ratio. Unless you are targeting big grouper 40# is perfectly fine for main line for what you are doing. Good luck and keep taking the boys it will pay off.
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:41 PM   #4
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Default RE: New to offshore questions!


Being new to saltwater myself, it can take a little while to find the right combination for line/leader/bait to find the fish you want. I'll agree with the other posters that the 80# mono is a little much. I prefer 65# braid on just about all my set-ups. Haven't had a problem with it so far.

I do mostly bottom fishing out of Destin myself and use a 3'-4', 50# mono leader on my bottom rigs with a 4/0 circle hook. Cut bait or live bait hooked through the back is my preference. One thing that I have noticed though is make sure your hooks are razor sharp. I just purchased some new hooks that had a smaller diameter shank and are MUCH sharper than what I have previously used and they hook A LOT more fish.

I have a similar fishfinder too. I'm using the HDS-7 and I use it almost exclusively on the General Fishing mode vice the shallow water mode. I find it paints everything is the water column, from the snapper on the bottom to the AJ's hanging up 30 feet. I fish in mainly 70-100 feet of water and it works like a charm. I've messed around a little with the other modes, but the General Fishing mode use seems to do the trick for me.

Good luck with the fishing and the Boys!!!
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Old 05-19-2010, 05:29 PM   #5
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Default RE: New to offshore questions!

We use 50lb line(which is over kill for snapper)on Penn 330 for snapper. 4/0 to 6/0 hooks on 3-5 feet of 60 clear mono leader. If your getting bites but not hooking up, drop your hook size, probablytrigger or something small.

On the depth finder-I always zoom to the bottom 20 ft untill I find the structure, then zoom back out.

Also, especially in the warmer months(like from now on) we always throw a dead Cig on a king rig and drag it behind the boat while bottom fishing and looking for spots. Caught many of Kings this way.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:54 PM   #6
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Default RE: New to offshore questions!

May try this. If I get on a spot and I cant get a meat fish to bite i drop my tackle down to a pretty small hook and light line. Put a little bit if squid on the hook and drop it down and catch a few of the small fish on the reef. Put them on the boat and then switch back over to a meat fish rig. Stick one of the fish you just caught on the hook throuh his back and drop him down using a fishfinder set up. Let him swim around till he gets hit. Then do it again. Seems to work quit a bit.

You mentioned Kings. If you are on a spot fishing pull up some of the smaller baits and hook them through the nose and freeline them off the boat.

What I use for snapper and grouper:

sensitive rod in about the 60-80 class

a 6/0 reel should be fine

I use 50-60# main line (power pro or other braid)

I use floro (size depends on the fish I am fishing for)

Circle hooks (remember reel not jerk)

Fishfinder rig

Weight depends on depth and current
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