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Captain's Corner

Captain's Corner: Bonito working great as bait for red grouper

Bottom fishing: Red grouper fishing remains steady in depths of 70 to 100 feet. Most days, limits of two per person can be met, especially if weather allows you to travel past the 80-foot mark. Grouper are eager to grab your baits as they descend, but most of the fish are undersized. Bring a lot of bait, because you'll have to catch at least 10 smaller grouper for every keeper. One thing's for sure: There's plenty of action for anglers at this time.

Great bait: All baits are productive at this time. My favorite is 4-inch-long fillets of bonito (little tunny). They have been available around many of the schools of baitfish we have been finding offshore. They're poor table fare for humans, but if you're a red grouper, they're at the top of the list. Fresh bonito fillets seem to work twice as well as frozen ones, so try to keep them iced, even if it's for a few days.

Nothing goes to waste: The head section of the bonito has not gone to waste this month, either. We have caught numerous goliath grouper with this portion of the bonito. The head's bloody scent seems to drive the goliaths into a feeding frenzy. A few bull sharks have also joined the bonito ambush.

Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or see

Captain's Corner: Bonito working great as bait for red grouper 08/17/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 6:26pm]
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