Grouper are the sure bet offshore. We have been catching great number of red and gag grouper in depths as shallow as 30 feet. These fish are not picky about their food, taking both frozen and live baits as soon as the baits hit the bottom. Make sure to tackle up since some of our gags have been in the 14- to 16-pound range. Anything less than 60 pounds is begging for disaster on some of the undercut ledges off the coast. Snapper fishing continues to very productive in the 90- to 140-foot range. While the main catch is mangroves we have also been getting quite a few yellowtail and lane snapper. These tasty snappers love fresh shrimp. Anchor 50-100 feet uptide of your favorite ledge and set out a small chum slick with tiny pieces of sardines. Pin the shrimp tail-first to a quarter- to half-ounce jig head and let it fall unimpeded back into the slick. The snapper will rise off the bottom while on the feed right to your drifting bait. Blackfin tuna are here for the summer. Huge schools of flying fish are in depths as shallow as 80 feet. A quick cast net session at the bridge in the morning should yield pilchards to get the tuna around the boat. Live chummers are the most important part of tuna fishing on the west coast.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.