Learn How to Catch to Mutton Snapper in the Florida Keys using these tips and techniques.

Ball Bearing Swivels

In previous podcasts I mentioned that I used the SPRO brand power swivels(50lb-80lb) for constructing wind-on leaders for targeting Mutton Snappers, but a few months ago I made the switch to the Diamond Brand Ball Bearing Swivels(50lb-70lb.) I made this change because I was seeing way too many SPRO swivel failures and was seeing an increase line twist problems resulting in leader failures.

I have been extremely happy since I made the switch a few months back from SPRO to the Diamond Brand Ball Bearing swivels especially when using use long leaders(50-100ft) and heavy weights.   I basically eliminated the line twists problems I was having and I have not yet seen swivel failure since I switched from SPRO Power Swivels to Diamond Ball Bearing Swivels.    If you want to learn more about selecting the right swivel for the application I highly suggest reading this article https://georgepoveromo.com/content.php?pid=50

To extend the life of the ball bearing swivels and get the most of out their performance,  I spray them with a little WD-40 out of the box, then after each trip the swivels get sprayed down with hot water and hit again with WD-40 prior to the next fishing trip.

The Diamond Ball bearing swivels added another level of confidence to my Mutton Snapper fishing game, they have also saved me a ton of money but extending the life of my fluorocarbon leaders.

I purchase mine from Melton Tackle

Product Description: Diamond Rotary Ball Bearing Swivels are the finest ball bearing swivels manufactured today. Welded eye rings for added strength and both ends of the swivel rotate individually to eliminate any chance of line twist. They cost 12.59 for a pack of 6. One pack will last me me month, it just depends on how many times I snag the bottom which maybe once every 3 charters.

https://www.meltontackle.com/diamond-rotary-ball-bearing-swivel.html

Bait Buttons For Mutton Snapper

Presentation is everything when it comes to live bait fishing for Mutton Snappers, these fish can be very finicky.  I just recently found a product online called Bait Buttons (https://www.baitbuttons.com/) These little buttons keep the live baits and dead baits locked and stable on the hook. It is very hard for frisky live baits baits such as the pilchard or live ballyhoo to wiggle its way off the hook or flip back over the hook resulting in a fouled up bait with it pegged on the hook with a bait button.  On a recent Mutton fishing charter trip my clients were getting more Mutton Snapper bites and the hook up rate drastically improved.

Mutton Snappers Using Bait Buttons

We also landed a couple nice Yellow Jacks and caught a very nice African Pompano along with a few Amberjacks using the bait buttons.

African Pompano Caught Using a Bait Button

I had been using several types of materials(soft beads, rubber bands and zip ties) to keep live baits and dead baits from sliding up and on the hook and the line, until I found the Bait Buttons. For detailed instructions on how to use the bait buttons just click on the link below. This link will show you exactly how I use the buttons when hooking a live pilchard on the hook for target Mutton Snappers  https://www.baitbuttons.com/techniques/live-minnows

I also had a chance to test out the Bait Buttons for Yellowtail Snapper fishing using dead bait. It is extremely tough for any fish to rip a bait off the hook with this this bait button. It keeps the bait pegged on the hook. Below is young client of mine with the first batch of jumbo size Yellowtail Snappers he caught using the bait buttons.

Key Largo Largo Yellowtail Snapper

Testing Bait Buttons Out On Yellowtail Snapper

We used only 6 tiny pieces of bonito the entire trip which his basically un-heard of when it comes to flat lining for Yellowtails to catch these Jumbos, not to the mention he lost another 5 or 6 Yellowtails to the Sharks and the Barracudas on this trip. I encourage you to try the Bait Buttons out.

You can order these directly though the Bait Button Website: https://www.baitbuttons.com/buy-now/original/I am using two different styles of bait buttons:

BIG GAME Bait Buttons-Larger Hooks
Pre-loaded Dispenser (with 25 buttons)-Cost is $8.89

Original Bait Buttons-Smaller Hooks
Pre-loaded Dispenser (with 100 buttons)-$8.89

Make sure you read the product descriptions carefully before ordering. To save time I preload the bait buttons on the hooks  before I go fishing.

Captains Choice Pure Sardine Chum

Should have been using this chum years ago, It is 100% natural Sardine chum and it awesome!  This chum is now my number one choice of chum for Yellowtail Snapper fishing in the Florida Keys.  The fish love sardine oil in the Captains Choice chum  The ballyhoo and speedos go nuts for this stuff so if you are planning on visiting the Florida Keys and are planning on catching your own bait using a cast net or by using a Ballyhoop, then I highly recommend using Captains Choice.   Captains Choice is used by the a majority of the commercial fishing fleet through out the Florida Keys as their chum of choice for targeting Yellowtail Snapper.   For bulk orders you can contact Robert at 305-815-8290, but if you need just one or 2 blocks below are list of current tackle shops in Miami and the Upper Florida Keys that sell Captain Choice. This stuff is hard to find.

 Miami Area

Bird Road Bait and Tackle

4048 Sw 94th Avenue Miami, FL 33165

(786) 773-3030

 Captain Jax Bait and Tackle

490c E 4th Ave, Hialeah, FL 33010

(786) 300-5362

Upper Florida Keys

 Captain Bad’s Tackle

103100 Overseas Hwy #43, Key Largo, FL 33037

(305) 451-2248

Wild Willys Witches

Can not say enough good things about Willy and his Witches. His customer service is outstanding. He works with his clients one on one and wants to make sure you get the Witch you want for the application.  His Sea Witch lure heads are absolutely perfect! The paint and tie jobs are the best I have seen on the market.  The one lure all dolphin fishing must order from him is his blue or crystal orange head 3/4 oz or 1/2 oz head. You can catch several dolphin on this lure before it begins to show signs of wear. You can place a custom order through by contacting Willy through is facebook page https://www.facebook.com/wildwillyswitches/df. I am working on testing a couple new lures Willy created for me, that I will reveal in the near future, so stay tuned.