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Captain's Corner | Larry "Huffy" Hoffman

Captain's Corner: American snapper hot, grouper not

Offshore grouper fishing has been average to poor for us over the past three trips. We have been fishing in 50 to 100 feet and tried every bait — live and dead — varied the leader size and still struggled to catch a few keepers.

American snapper fishing has been good in 100 feet and deeper. There are more offshore than I have seen in more than 16 years of fishing this coast. Pieces of frozen sardines have worked well while a small, live pinfish has produced some of the biggest.

Amberjack fishing is strong. A general rule is the deeper you fish, the bigger the jacks.

Shipwrecks and springs are holding some blackfin tuna. The key is strong tides so you can get a chum slick going.

Tactics/bait: Large blue runners will produce the biggest jacks. They like big baits, and a 2-pounder can produce jacks of up to 60 pounds. Drift fishing over springs helps prevent cut-offs. Once you land a fish, place your boat up-tide of the wreck and drift again. Hook your baits through the nose because amberjack will swallow baits head first.

Tackle: Fishing over springs and shipwrecks provides multiple opportunities to catch a variety of species. Take 30-pound class tackle for mangrove snapper, yellow tail snapper and American snapper; 50- to 60-pound for grouper, amberjack and tuna. Barracuda are thick over all of the shipwrecks right now. A big blue runner on a flat line with No. 4 steal leaders should give you some high jumping action.

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

Captain's Corner: American snapper hot, grouper not 06/12/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 16, 2008 2:31pm]
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