Well the season is short, but the fish are not...Red snapper will be in season til July 10 and there is no shortage of quality size snappers to be caught nearshore on public reefs. Thanks to organizations like Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Asso (MBARA) the number of artificial reefs within 9 miles of Mexico Beach canal produce great catches that the entire family can enjoy.
Typically, the larger snapper are not on the bottom, but up the water column above the smaller fish where the competition for food is not as difficult. These fish will quickly eat frozen cigar minnows free lined so they drop slowly through the water column appearing to be pieces of leftovers from a mackerel or shark slash and burn feed on the surface. We will chum small pieces of cigar minnows and actually draw the big snappers near the surface so they can be seen. If the bite is slow, we will drop a live pinfish slowly with enough weight to keep the line vertical and work the entire water column.
We are using medium size spinning tackle rigged with 40-65 lb braided line with 40 lb floura-carbon leaders and a 4/0 or 5/0 circle hook. Use only enough sinker weight to allow a natural fall through the water column, sometimes the current may dictate more weight, but it is rare that we use more than 3 oz.