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First post, been lurking for awhile and appreciate all of the floating information around! I am a total newb to offshore fishing and am looking for some insight. I purchased a 22’cc two months ago and was able to take it out for the snapper opening weekend(June1-3). We were successful in boating 4 keeper snapper but found much difficulty holding position with the wind and current. We were given some private #’s to use and the spot was marking tons of fish, however we were catching 1 tiny ARS after another. How long should I sit on a spot catching small fish?? Other than the obvious “large bait” what could I do to increase the size we are catching? Are spots that hold small fish a waste or should I be more patient?

Public spots... have not went to any yet, but was thinking of hitting the LuLu and some of the public #’s around it. Advice on public spots, what’s courtesy berths for other fishermen?

I have been reading, learning new techniques everyday, but it’s like drinking from a firehose.
 

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search these forums for numbers, I've posted .gpx files of most of the public stuff. You can bounce around and catch a few fish off of it. Otherwise, learn to read your bottom machine and look for small structure with fish shows. Mark that spot and keep trolling. Then turn around and fish what you have found. That's how I've found most of my productive bottom spots, and caught a bunch of kings and bobos and spanish also. Good luck.
 

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The bigger snapper are there but they usually remain up higher in the water column!
 
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As for time on a reef? I usually see people sit on them for 20-30 mins. We usually sit on them for 1-3 hours. The biggest snapper that I have ever caught was after sitting on a reef for about 2-1/2 hours. It hit a free-lined Ruby Red that was about 20ft down in 75ft of water.
 

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And as you say, big baits. Free lining a whole mullet is good medicine when after the sows if the current's not too strong.
Ha, beat me to the punch on the free line thing NoMo!
 

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Thanks guys. I will give these a try. I’ll report back on what my next set of challenges are. Appreciate the help!
 

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another thing to do is to switch baits up. I've caught big snapper on a large chunk of bonita the size of my hand when I could only get bait stealers on other baits. If I'm marking fish high in the water column, they'll likely be snapper. Don't be afraid to chum them to the surface. You'll see sizes easier that way too. As far as spots, in my experience, there are so many public spots in Pensacola, Destin etc and such an abundance of snapper, you shouldn't have to worry about finding fish.
Don't be afraid to use your GoPro on a reef/wreck. You'd be surprised at what you see down there....you may see grouper etc that you're not catching...it'll help you tune techniques to what you'd like to catch.
 

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Like the original poster, I am new to this, having gone a couple times on head boats and once on a charter. Did not teach us the kinds of things you all are mentioning. Makes sense with what I am seeing on the electronics.


I tried a couple of public reefs July 4. thought i was drifting over them and did not see structure. maybe i need to magnify the GPS image to see if am really on the spot.
 

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Like the original poster, I am new to this, having gone a couple times on head boats and once on a charter. Did not teach us the kinds of things you all are mentioning. Makes sense with what I am seeing on the electronics.


I tried a couple of public reefs July 4. thought i was drifting over them and did not see structure. maybe i need to magnify the GPS image to see if am really on the spot.
I've had issues with that too. A lot of nearshore reefs are moved or covered up, and I have a hard time identifying hard bottom versus sand on my fish finder. ECRA members get access to confirmed numbers and that is a warm fuzzy to know you're in the right spot. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you all for your advice. We have had a very successful few days and lots of bent rods. Still have lots to learn but boy is this amazing fishery forgiving to a newcomer. Fish around every corner..... maybe just beginners luck!! Tight lines fellas!
 

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