Saturday, March 24, 2018

Captain's Corner: Bottom fishing currently takes more planning

What's hot: Bottom fishing offshore this time of year takes a little more planning than in cooler months. The water temperature is climbing, and the grouper will be feeding more slowly. The best advice is get on the water early. Grouper and snapper are the most active from early in the morning until early afternoon, then pick up from late afternoon until dark. Using live bait is imperative.

Tactics: Locating these fish also is more difficult this time of year because winds that come with storms and fronts prompt them to spread out on the hard-bottom areas in search of food. Sometimes, you find an area covered with grouper and snapper and loaded with bait. Then the next time, it is a desert.

Tips: Surprisingly, there have been scattered areas in shallower water with red and gag grouper. It is unusual this time of year, but because of all the bait schools in 60-90 feet, there have been fish there. Last week, we never fished outside of 105 feet and had a great day catching mangrove and lane snapper, gag and red grouper up to 18 pounds, and blackfin tuna. Lastly, make sure to have a good idea what the weather is doing. Afternoon thunderstorms can catch you by surprise.

Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and


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Captainís Corner: Erratic weather making offshore fishing unpredictable

Continued heavy winds have kept offshore fisheries from settling in to predictable patterns. When things have calmed, nearshore baitfish have bunched up and kingfish and Spanish mackerel settled in around them. Unfortunately, each cold front has chur...
Published: 03/23/18

Captainís Corner: Snook bite is best now in afternoon

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Published: 03/21/18
Updated: 03/22/18

Captainís Corner: Windy conditions limit fishing options

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Published: 03/20/18
Updated: 03/21/18

Captainís Corner: Grouper moving in as water temperatures rise

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Published: 03/18/18
Updated: 03/20/18

Captainís Corner: Cold causes spiny lobsters to go into hiding

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Published: 03/18/18

Captainís Corner: Snook are the hot bite

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Published: 03/16/18
Updated: 03/17/18

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Published: 03/16/18

Captainís Corner: Big trout moving out of the shallows

February seemed like March with record-breaking heat, but now March seems like February with below-average temperatures. This is a good thing. Spring fishing has started way too early in the past few years. The cold-water temperature we have now will...
Published: 03/14/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Captainís Corner: Temperature changes affect fly fishing

Having a fantastic river trip one day where we caught a lot of snook in shallow water on a fly and going back to the same location three days later and not finding any cooperative fish can be very puzzling. What happened? Recent warm weather was repl...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/14/18

Captainís Corner: Warming trend increasing activity over grass flats

Water temperatures have finally started to climb into the low 70s on the flats. The temperatures have been fluctuating with the past few cold fronts moving through. Large schools of reds should start showing up on the flats in the Pinellas Point area...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/13/18