Many years ago, a captain taught me the secret of little spots for big snapper — sunken washing machines. On that fishing trip, the captain asked me, “Do you want to catch a big snapper?” I replied, “Sure I do.” The captain smiled and said, “Okay, we’ll catch them out of the washing machine.
“I put out a washing machine 5 years ago, and I only fish it once or twice a year. It’s such a small spot that anyone who passes over it with their bottom machine on won’t stop and fish there. But I generally can catch one or two really big snapper every other year off this washing machine.”
This trip happened before the enactment of regulations against putting-out whiteware like refrigerators, washing machines and car bodies as reef material. The captain handed me a rod with 8 feet of 50-pound-test monofilament leader on it tied to a barrel swivel with an egg sinker up the line.
We baited with live pinfish, and I lowered the bait to the bottom.
“I prefer to use a long leader to get the bait well away from the lead and the swivel,” the captain said. “Big snapper are spooky, and the farther you can have your bait away from your lead and swivel, the better your odds of catching it. I want the lead to lie on the bottom, and that pinfish should swim 10 to 20 feet off the bottom. The lead will go to the bottom faster than the pinfish. That live pinfish will create resistance on the line, pulling the slack line through the lead and allowing the pinfish to swim well up off the bottom, often 10 to 20feet up from the lead, and that’s where the really big snapper usually hold.”
Once my lead hit the bottom, I put the reel in gear. But I didn’t reel-down to take up the slack, because if I did, then when my lead reached the bottom, I’d pull my live bait down to the lead. So, I waited. I felt a light thump on the line and then my line went taut. I set the hook, and for the next 10 minutes, I battled a 27-pound snapper to the boat.
“These little places are generally only good for one big snapper, and I usually wait a year or two before I return to that same little spot to fish for another one,” the captain explained. “I’ve got a number of little spots out here in deep water that are hard to find, and even if somebody does find them, they won’t fish them.
“But if you want to catch really big snapper consistently, these are the types of places you want to target.”
This article is part of the Not exactly obvious feature in the June issue of Mississippi Sportsman. Digital editions can be downloaded right to your computer or smartphone.
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