1. Remember that big snapper easily can become line- and hook-shy. Generally light line and hooks the snapper can't see often will produce more and bigger fish.
2. Anticipate the bite. If you've fished long enough to know when a snapper should bite, you can set the hook before you feel the fish take the bait.
3. Chum them up. Sometimes you can bring snapper to the surface by throwing out chum or hanging a chum bag overboard.
4. Pull them away from the wreck or the reef. By sinking the chum bag upcurrent of a wreck or reef, you may can pull the snapper away from the reef and catch them in the open water.
5. Put out a driftline by simply hooking a cigar minnow through the head and letting it drift behind the boat. Often big snapper will come up well away from the boat and take the bait near the surface.
6. Try a squid pie. Push a cigar minnow inside a large squid bait. Then hook the squid and the cigar minnow by burying the hook up in the bait. Fish this bait on 6-foot leader.
7. Wait for the second bite. The snapper may hit the bait one time. If you strike the fish, you'll miss it. However, if you wait on the second bite, by that time the snapper may have the whole bait in its mouth. Then you'll have a better chance of getting a hookset.
8. Fish with a circle hook to connect the easiest with snapper. When you use this type hook, don't jerk to set the hook. But, as you feel the snapper biting, begin to reel down slowly and continue to reel as you feel the weight of the fish. The design of the circle hook will enable the fish to set the hook itself. If you jerk, you'll pull the hook out of the snapper's mouth.
9. Keep a deck rod handy -- saltwater spinning tackle with 20- to 30-pound test handy and rigged with a live bait or a dead cigar minnow. Many times when you fish for snapper, gray snapper and big black snapper will come up behind the boat. By having a deck rod rigged and baited with no weight, you can cast through them and catch them.
10. Use big baits for big snapper. Although I have caught big snapper on a piece of cigar minnow about the size of my thumb before, I've also taken more big snapper using a fillet of northern mackerel, a squid pie, a large pinfish or beeliner. Large snapper generally prefer big baits.