What's hot: Offshore fishing for red grouper remains productive in 50- to 75-foot depths. The key is to find good live bottom with structure nearby. The fish have been active, and it shouldn't take long to get a good bite going. During calmer days some anglers drift-fish. I find it's better to anchor and draw the fish in; it seems as if less tackle is lost that way.
Red grouper are normally fairly aggressive when feeding, but they will give way once the gag grouper show up. We've boated and released a number of oversize gag grouper on many of the bottom stops while fishing for red grouper.
Somewhat obvious has been the lack of mangrove snapper that we normally catch while bottom fishing for grouper. The catches haven't been what we usually find in May. Hopefully that will change as summer fishing progresses.
Also: Fishing for sharks has picked up along the beach and into the bay. June is a great month for shark fishing in the Tampa Bay area. Watch for hammerhead and bull sharks, which often follow stingray and mackerel schools.
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit captainlarryblue.com.