Mangrove snappers

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Mangos as we old time fishermen like to call the feisty mangrove snappers. They can be caught year round. They are one of the most delicious tasting fish and easily caught.

They can be found in the Mangroves, on the reef in shallow water. On the grassy flats of Biscayne Bay and Flamingo.

My favorite time of the year is June and through out the summer months. Night time in June and July fishing off shore in 30 to 60 feet of water while the fish are in the spawning mode is incredible. The biggest snappers from 2 to 4 LBS are easily caught.

Fishing of any bridge in the Florida Keys can be just as rewarding in the summer months.
Since Flamingo is my favorite place to fish in South Florida , the Bay is where I fish for Mangos. There are grass flats everywhere once you leave the Marina traveling East or West. Snappers are there to catch however the bigger ones spend there days and nights in the Gulf and the channels of Florida Bay.

Once you find the area where snappers live bring out the Chum Bag and start a chum slick. As long as the current is running and the chum is moving with the current, the Mangos will find you.
Lets talk about bait. Nothing beats a live shrimp however squid, glass minnows, silversides, frozen shrimp ,pilchards or just some cut up ballyhoo will do.

I start out catching pinfish and pilchards. Even though live shrimp is my first purchase at the bait store. I like having some livies for the monster Snappers ( 3 to 4 pounders} Rigging the rods before every trip allows me safety in that all the hook, weights,line and leaders are ready. The snappers have teeth and if you have ever had one snap on to your finger when taking the hook out you will agree they have teeth. My line preference is 10lb test with a 20lb test fluorocarbon leader. Attach a #1 sharp hook and depending on the speed of the current a sliding sinker knocker rig with the weight large enough to stay on the bottom. It is more fun with just split shot if the current allows.

With my boat ,bait, rods and reels rigged and ready I head out south from the marina at Flamingo. South toward the Florida Keys. When I pass by Clive Key channel I am thankful that my Pathfinder only draws 11 inches of water. Although the channel is deep enough for most flats and bay boats you do not want to leave or enter the channel at the wrong angle at low tides. On to Man o War channel. This is a great starting pointe for Snapper fishing in June.

Out comes the anchor, then the chum bag the depth of water in this channel is generally around 6 to 9 feet. It should not be long when a school of Mangos swim into your chum slick. Cast a live shrimp out and let it hit the bottom and hang on.

The legal size must be `10 inches or larger to keep. Five snappers are the maximum amount . Take friends fishing and catching a limit should be easy for everyone.

Remember you do not need to have a boat to catch snappers. Every dock from Fort Lauderdale to Key West are home to Mangrove Snappers. Channel Two, Channel Five, Toms Harbor, Long Key and the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys are ideal for catching Mangrove Snappers.

A landing net ,a good hook remover tool and gloves are necessary do not forget to prepare properly and you will be rewarded.

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