Great bottom fishing: Red grouper fishing remains a mainstay for bottom fishers. We have easily reached the limit of two per angler at 80 feet and deeper. Many of the red grouper weigh more than 13 pounds.
Big gags: On our last outing, we found a school of big gag grouper in 86 feet of water. We stumbled across these fish while using sonar to find red grouper. Within seconds of the baits descending, all my clients had hooked giant gags. After a few minutes the bite calmed, but by then we had taken our claim.
Snapper: Some nice mangrove snapper are available at many of these locations. They are stuffed full of roe, ready to spawn on the approaching full moon phase. This month, we have landed mangos as heavy as 9 pounds with light spinning rods. A steady flow of chopped minnows lures them directly to the surface, allowing light tackle to be used. The slower tides seemed to work best, letting the chum disperse deeper. There is an absence of American red snapper at 80 to 100 feet. Only a month ago we were consistently catching nice-sized red snapper at these same depths. The warmer temperatures have pushed the big numbers to deeper waters. Around the 120-foot depths they reappear, eager to grab baited hooks.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 595-3276, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.jawstoo.com.