• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On March 28, 2018
  • Comments
  •  3

Along Florida’s sleepy “Nature Coast”, the port of Crystal River offers easy access to red snapper and grouper fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

On a recent trip, I hopped on board with Captain TJ Shea of 2Shea charters and after running 40 miles, we were in an incredibly shallow 50 feet of water to set a drift over an old shrimp boat wreck. Using a 7-foot Okuma Azores AZ-S-701M matched with a Okuma Azore Z-80S spinning reel spooled up with 50-pound blue Yo-Zuri SuperBraid, we started off snapping 2-ounce Spro bucktails around the wreck. What followed was a clinic in catch and release red snapper fishing as hits came fast and furious, pulling on snapper that breached the 10-pound mark. Bucktails are worked with quick fast short jerks of the rod to get the snapper’s attention and incite an aggression strike.

Shea suggested we switch up to target gag grouper so we broke out the 6-foot Okuma Cedros CJ-C-601Ma conventional rods set with Okuma Cortez A series reels and attached a “knocker rig” consisting of a 2-ounce egg sinker slid on the 50-pound fluorocarbon leader then a size 6/0 Octopus Mustad circle hook. Cut baits of Spanish sardines were lanced on the hook and drifted over the rockpiles and around the wreck. In an instant gag grouper to 15 pounds were being release over the gunnels.

Gags were hooked best when taking the bait, the spool is freelined back to them for a solid three count before engaging the reel and reeling up at a moderate pace to set the circle hook. Florida gulf wreck fishing can be a non stop affair as all the wreck beasties are super aggressive and charged up to hit bucktails, jigs, metal lures as well as both live and dead baits. Spicing up the mix are a bunch of Amberjacks, hogfish, triggerfish, cobia, and a ton of sharks to keep the groove going. Just be sure to check the Florida Fish and Wildlife regs ahead of time as both snapper and grouper are highly regulated in the state.

Gear Used


Azores Jigging Rods

Okuma Azores Jigging Rods are made with extremely light-weight and responsive 24-ton carbon rod blanks, featuring OC-9 carbon outer wrap for improved hoop strength.



Azores Saltwater Spinning Reels

The Okuma Azores Saltwater Spinning Reels are designed specifically for saltwater fishing. These reels come equipped with precision click drag adjustment for more precise settings, as well as a dual anti-reverse system for maximum security.



SuperBraid PE Braided Line

Yo-Zuri SuperBraid PE Fishing Line is super strong & durable, provides maximum abrasion resistance, is easy to handle, and is extremely low stretch.



Chrome Bucktail Jigs

SPRO Chrome Bucktail Jigs are unlike any other jigs on the market. Their unique head shape and eyelet placement help bring these lures to life. With blazing color, a holographic finish, and bulging eyes, they put fish at your mercy.



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