There are several techniques used to catch fish, largely specific on whether you’re inshore of offshore fishing, the type of fish species, time of year, and other variables. Today we will highlight the chumming technique as well other pointers specifically for targeting mangrove snapper.
In Venice, LA we fish for mangrove snapper a little different than other places, as the majority of the time it’s done offshore at fixed rig platforms off the coast of Venice (mangrove will hang anywhere from 40 to 350 feet). We tie up the boat to the rigs and keep the boat as close as possible so we don’t have to worry about a wave pulling us back into the rig.
The importance of water color and current. One of the most important factors when fishing for mangroves is the water color because it helps to determine what size fluorocarbon to use. Normally we use anywhere from 40 to 80 pound Hi-Seas fluorocarbon leader matched with a 5/0 to 7/0 Mustad perfect circle hook. You should set up your leader by tying a uni to uni knot from the fluorocarbon to your braid line. I like to use about 4 to 6 feet of fluorocarbon or more depending on how the fish are acting. Another important factor in mangrove fishing is the current. Too much current will cause the bait to have trouble reaching the mangroves, however if there is no current, mangroves will get picky. In my personal opinion, the ideal current for mangrove fishing is .5 to 1 mph.
Live bait and chumming for mangroves. Live bait is definitely the way to go as mangroves can’t resist a live croaker and also eat shrimp and live pogies. Chumming is also a great technique. First, we start by cutting dead pogies into small pieces and throw them inside the rig. The amount of chum I use depends on if the fish are staying up in the water column. After doing this a few times, you should begin to see mangroves come up to the surface. If you do not see them or do not get a bite within a few minutes, you may want to bounce around to other rigs. Mangroves will get finicky, so when this happens, I typically move on to the next rig.
Presenting the bait to snappers. Again, mangroves are very picky, so most of the time they will not hit a bait unless it is flowing like all the other chum you are throwing in the water. With this in mind, I put a slit in a piece of chum, then take the hook and slide it inside the slit. I then toss the bait into the water, let it flow naturally, and hold on tight.
Mangrove fishing season is almost here! Louisiana mangroves can reach weights up to 18 pounds, but the average size is around 7 to 9 pounds. Starting in May, rig fishing should really take off for reef fish that includes mangrove snapper as well as red snapper, grouper, cobia and various other types of reef fish. Season runs from May through the beginning of October – the best months being June and July for mangroves (right around the corner, so book now!). There are catch limits per person for each type of fish – ten mangrove snappers, two red snappers, four groupers, and two cobias.
When you are fishing for reef fish off the coast of Venice, LA, you never know what you might catch which is what makes it so much fun! There is always a lot of action, and it’s a great activity for kids, adults, and guests who are new to offshore fishing. So give us a call at 504-981-8862 and give it a try. I promise you will have a blast.