Flipping tidbits of bait to mangrove snappers just beneath the water’s surface is an entirely different game than dredging their red snapper cousins up from the deep.
Capt. Ed Frekey’s gear reflects that difference.
His preferred reels for mangrove snappers are 10000 series Shimano Spheros medium-duty spinning reels mounted on 7-foot rods rated for 12- to 20-pound-test line.
He prefers the rods to be on the limber side.
Most often, the reels are spooled with 65-pound-test PowerPro braided line tipped with a 3 or 4 feet of 50-pound fluorocarbon leader.
In clearer water, he downsizes the leader to 40-pound-test. He resists going to lighter lines because of the number of break-offs that occur.
His choice of hooks is 4/0 Mustad Demon Perfect circle hooks.
Preferred baits are live croakers or thawed, frozen Spanish sardines. The baits were fished weightless to properly drift in the current.
Having the right tackle is important for proper bait presentation.
The casts must be made as close to a rig leg as possible, and then the bail of the reel should be closed and the bait allowed to sink.
If a poor cast is made, the bait must be reeled in and cast again.
A croaker is only good for three casts, and then it loses its “wiggle.” Sardines don’t stay fresh long when cast again and again.
His red snapper gear is entirely different.
Terminal tackle isn’t a simple weightless hook. Rather, he uses “chicken rigs:” double-hook rigs made of 200-pound-test monofilament line with 14/0 hooks and two 16-ounce bank sinkers.
This was gorilla-fishing.
Instead of spinning reels, Frekey uses conventional reels: Shimano Trinidad 30s and Talica 25s.
The reels are mounted on 6-foot, medium-heavy Shimano Trevala rods and spooled with 100-pound-test PowerPro braided line.