Better conditions: We finally get a stretch of awesome weather, but things will be slow for a few days, especially in shallow water. Grouper fishing will worsen because the fish barely need to eat after the shock of the past two weeks. We will travel to deeper water to find a difference in water temperature.
Tips: Having a thermometer on board helps in these situations. The surface temps can be monitored the entire time, while running or anchored. Though it's only a surface reading, this eliminates a lot of guesswork. I'll travel until the water is at least 60 degrees. This week, that should be about 30 miles out. Smaller, frozen baits such as half a sardine or a small chunk of squid could be helpful. Small offerings are easier for slow-moving grouper to eat.
Patience key: Giving each spot a little time will be important for grouper. Soaking baits on the bottom for at least 10 minutes, without any bites, could be common. Wait over rocks you know are holding fish. They may take a nibble. And that is all big grouper might feel like on the other end of a pole. The grouper will barely grab the bait and stay motionless for seconds on end. This fools many newcomers, who start to reel up and find a big one tugging.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or see www.jawstoo.com.