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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i did a lot of growing up in the keys (big pine to be exact), and essentially thats where i developed my love for fishing. right off of my god fathers back porch was one of the outlet to the canals, a good stretch of flats, and past the mangrove islands was the gulf. i remember seeing HUGE schools of mangrove snappers in the canal that i would site fish and limit out on for dinner, as i waited to for my cuda/shark rods to go off. but in my most recent visits (somewhere around 10 years ago) i noticed that these schools simply were not there.

at the time all i could wonder was, "where are the fish?" im trying to get back down there, and i love me some mangrove snapper. cooked up like snitzel, cant beat it (IMO). but now that im almost a decade wiser (feels odd saying that, im only 19), im also a decade smarter. and it dawned on me...

are these fish year round residents of the keys or do they have migratory patters where they are more numerous in some months rather than others?
 

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In the Keys, I think they stay there year-round. Other areas of Florida, they may move offshore a bit if the water gets too cold. However, they don't migrate like pompano or pelagic fish such as cobia or kings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
the area im used to fishing isnt quite backbay, but its not open water or reef either... just rolling flats. so i imagine certain parts of the year they could move closer/farther to the shore.

as a general statement when are the best months to catch them? and i have my favorites, but what kind of baits do you floridians usually use?
 

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You can't beat live shrimp. Live pilchards are a good second choice.
 

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Dock or "resident" snapper seem to congregate near docks and cleaning stations. These fish, if they occur near a private marina, are generally fairly easy to target but only if they get no pressure....they remain almost throughout the year. Grovers spawn in the summer....late May, June, July and very early August...June and July are the best months for this in your area of BPK. During the spawn you will find spawning aggregations on the shallow nearshore natural structure. Resident dock snapper that see even tiny bits of pressure get reeeealy smart real quick. The can tell you what lb test your flouro line is and probably recite you the brand of your hook no matter how small or well hidden inside your bait. We call these dock specimen the PHD fish....the only way to get the bigguns is to "force feed" them. Back in the day we used to spear off of a marina in Miami "urban-comando" style. We would freedive under the docks surfacing underneath and between slips....making repeated dives to lay motionless on the bottom (aspetto style). Our best day we took 10 fish between two divers ranging from 6-10lbs. Fishing the spawn can be great on H&L as well...best way to do it is to anchor upcurrent of a big show of fish and then put some menhadden chum out. Once they are up in the water column send out 1 1/2" ballyhoo plugs out on a flat line and wait for a pick up....soon you'll have a chunky "mango" snapper wondering who left a toothpick in his hoursdevour. I will post some pics of good days in Big Pine some as recent as a year or two ago.

PS try the pizza at "No Name Bar" after fishing all day nothing beats washing down a slice of theirs with a frosty mug of your favorite beer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
haha, those "residents" arent stupid at all. you can take a handful of shrimp and throw them in the water. youll see a feeding frenzy, but they wont touch the one with your hook in it!

ive fished no name bridge many times with fantastic results. but i always opt for my godfathers place. the convenience of it NOT being a bridge and having rod holders all along the sea wall is nice. id still love to see pictures! ill get some up too, glad you know the area. (and ill have to try the pizza :))
 

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That is a jolthead porgy. When they are small like that they are more silver than anything else...later on they get these little blue stripes under their eyes. They often develop that super large eye although that one seemed somewhat exceptional. PS when they get as big as the one there and any bigger they are VERY tough to approach underwater....they seem to live in a heightened state of alert.
 
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