What's hot? Offshore fishing is outstanding. Blue-water fishing for tuna, wahoo and dolphin has been excellent. Bottom fishing for grouper, American red snapper and amberjack is outstanding. Sid Rice on the Marlin Hunter trolled the Pipeline in 130 out to 160 feet. Caught were kingfish — one close to 50 pounds — dolphin and wahoo. A few lines were dropped on a school of bait in 150 feet, producing half a dozen American red. Our last trip was with the Conte family. With six people aboard, we caught a limit of amberjack and released a dozen. The red grouper at 90 feet chewed the bottom out of our boat.
Tactics: We fished over a shipwreck for the amberjack and used live pinfish and blue runners that we jigged at Egmont Channel markers 3 and 4. We used 50-pound class tackle and drifted the wreck. While catching the amberjack, a few cobia circled the boat. A free-lined live pinfish enticed a 25-pound cobia to bite. Cobia are strong fighters. You need to wear out the fish before bringing it in the boat. We drifted hard-bottom areas in 90 feet using frozen sardines and live pinfish for red grouper. The bite was strong at two locations then tapered off around noon.
Larry "Huffy'' Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 709-9396.