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Amberjack will test offshore tackle

It looks as if this weekend's weather might allow anglers to get offshore. Fishing for amberjack, grouper, cobia and mangrove snapper has been excellent to good.

We fished over a wreck in 120 feet of water between storms, and we were able to get a few keeper amberjack.

We also lost a few large ones that tested our tackle and were cut off in the structure of the shipwreck.

When we first arrived at the wreck, we found three cobia circling it.

The biggest was a 45-pounder. We free-lined live pinfish on a circle hook to get a bite and hook up.

Mangrove snapper fishing will be excellent with the current moon phase.

We still have "schoolie" dolphin showing up while bottom fishing, so make sure you have a light tackle rod that you can cast to the dolphin.

Grouper fishing will be best in 90 to 110 feet of water. Hard bottom and ledges will hold good numbers of gag grouper.

Live bait has been best for the larger gags and mangrove snapper.

We use pinfish trips to get our live baits, then we stop by either the Egmont Channel markers or a nearshore wreck to load up with blue runners, Spanish sardines, threadfins and cigar minnows.

Gold-hook rigs are the preferred method for catching the live bait when offshore.

Big blue runners will produce the biggest amberjack. Large pinfish, threadfins and grunts will produce the larger gags.

Mangrove snappers prefer smaller live baits such as pilchards and little pinfish.

Frozen squid is a must for lane snappers, white grunts, scamp, vermillion and yellowtail snapper.

One tactic we use on slow tide and light winds days is to drift our baits over the bottom.

The movement of the baits will attract fish and the feeding response.

Drifting is also a good way to find new bottom numbers.

When you locate concentrations of fish, save the number on your bottom machine, then anchor over the fish.

Larry "Huffy'' Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call (727) 709-9396 or e-mail him at huffyl@tampabay.rr.com.

Amberjack will test offshore tackle 09/11/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 4:38pm]
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