What's hot: Grouper fishing is still good as long as you are in the right depth. Red and gag grouper have been active in 30 to 50 feet of water.
Watch depth: Do not run too far offshore. On several occasions last week we did well in 35 feet then worked out to 70 feet only to encounter slower fishing. Charter anglers from Sarasota to Tarpon Springs report similar findings. Even in deep water the bottom fishing action has been spotty. Commercial operators report unusually slow fishing from 90 feet out to 200 feet of water.
Lure them in: Chumming helps when bottom fishing in shallow water. Snip dead baits with scissors to broadcast scent and increase the activity under the boat. This draws fish in from outside the spot you're over and is particularly helpful in attracting red grouper from nearby flat bottom. Gags prefer live pinfish, and the reds are biting fresh cut bait best.
Limits: Keeper-sized red grouper, which are relatively uncommon in 35-40 feet of water have been abundant this summer. Catching a dozen or more per trip has been the norm. Anglers should keep in mind that there is a four-fish shallow-water grouper aggregate limit that includes red and gags. Therefore, an individual angler cannot keep a limit of both reds (four) and gags (two).
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (727) 944-3474.