What's new: Red snapper season is in full swing after the high winds of June and Tropical Storm Debby. The fisheries service extended red snapper season six days to July 16.
What's hot: Every day we have been baiting up on the beach and going to the 50-mile mark, where huge schools of big, red snapper are waiting. Most spots are producing 7- to 9-pound fish. We have concentrated on the small rolls on the bottom, which usually produce much larger fish though not as many. Every trip has yielded fish between 14 and 22 pounds. The larger fish are falling for live baits on the bottom; smaller fish like frozen sardines.
What else: Red grouper are in their summer pattern and can be taken on just about every bait in 90-200 feet. Giant shows of fish on the bottom machine are schools of vermilion snapper. Under these small snapper are the red grouper. Most spots will produce only a couple of fish, averaging 14-20 pounds.
Gag grouper season starts: Gag grouper are in depths from 20 feet to 450 feet. Live bait has been the key with larger fish and should outfish frozen baits all summer. Look for the best bite in 90-120 feet.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.