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Gulf of Mexico, FL Snook and Grunt fishing.

Posted on January 7th, 2014

I took advantage of the calm seas today and rising tide after 12 noon and headed out to one of the farther reefs in the Gulf of Mexico to see if I could catch a variety of bottom fish.  The last couple of weeks have been windy with cold fronts moving through and few people ventured out more than 3-miles in the Gulf to fish.  Today I traveled about 6-miles out.

By Florida law, anglers fishing bait over the many man-made Gulf reefs are limited to using circle hooks to protect smaller fish from being deep-hooked.
By Florida law, anglers fishing bait over the many man-made Gulf reefs are limited to using circle hooks to protect smaller fish from being deep-hooked.

I was using a drop-shot rig with a 1 oz. bell sinker, Gamakatsu Octypus hook, Rapala rods and Rapalareels, Sufix 832 braid and Sufix Fluorocarbon leaders.  I fished in about 40′ of water using live shrimp.  The fishing was steady with the main fish being caught good size Grunts.  I saw a boat next to me land a couple of Pompano which are one of the nicest eating fish you can catch in the Gulf just fishing reefs.

This Snook picked-up a fresh shrimp fished on the bottom over a reef in 40' of water.
This Snook picked-up a fresh shrimp fished on the bottom over a reef in 40′ of water.

I had some excitement when I hooked a significantly larger fish which turned out to be about a 7-8 lb. Snook.  The fight  got interesting as I was fighting it due to a 200-300 lb. Goliath Grouper inhaling it head-first.  If you take a close look at the fish in the image you can see where all the scales were roughed-up on both sides of it’s body near the tail.  I was not going to let the Goliath Grouper eat the Snook, after all, the Snook season is closed.  After a lengthy fight, the Grouper let it go, I landed the Snook, took a quick picture, and revived it until it swam away.

Grunts are plentiful around most warm saltwater reefs, they are scrappy fighters and are very tasty.  The Spanish Mackerel fell for a Rapala Husky Jerk Deep that I cast around the reef.
Grunts are plentiful around most warm saltwater reefs, they are scrappy fighters and are very tasty. The Spanish Mackerel fell for a Rapala Husky Jerk Deep that I cast around the reef.

As you can see, we will be having a fresh fish dinner….again!  Look like another cold front is moving through and the temperatures are predicted to dip in the 40F range be Tues., which is cold for south-west Florida.  I think golfing sounds good for the next few days until the weather settles down again!

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