Mixed bag: The past week has brought great trips for offshore anglers. And the opportunities look good for the coming days. Full-time residents of grouper, snapper and amberjack have moved closer to shore and have been joined by an unusually strong showing of cobia along with the fall migration of king and Spanish mackerel.
The hot bite of large mangrove snapper should get even better around this full moon. Most of the fish we have taken are 3-5 pounds and have hit best on small live pinfish and sardines. Be prepared to downsize tackle when snapper fishing. Forty-pound fluorocarbon leaders and small circle hooks fished with as little weight as possible to get baits to the bottom will produce the most action. Snapper are fast, so be ready when that first tap comes. If missed, another cast with more bait might be necessary.
Tips: The strong showing of cobia in our area is something to be prepared for. All of the places that are holding good numbers of bait might have a school of cobia nearby. Keep a heavy spinning rod at the ready because cobia are inquisitive and might appear right behind the boat or follow a hooked fish up from the bottom. Show them a free-lined pinfish and hang on.
Troy P. Sapp with Fins and Tails Guide Service can be reached at (813) 920-6928.