What's hot: Fishing on our coast is changing rapidly into fall patterns. With cooler nights and shorter days, the Gulf of Mexico has cooled to 82 degrees offshore. A few kingfish have shown up early, along with cobia and Spanish mackerel. Fishing in 110 feet of water Saturday, we were able to hook and fight two cobia heavier than 60 pounds. Both fish inhaled large pinfish while we were fishing for amberjack.
Grouper fishing is very good in 85-110 feet of water. Capt. Garner Koons caught a limit of red grouper and a few nice gags in 100 feet of water and lost numerous large fish because of cutoffs on the rocky bottom. We released numerous American red snapper. Using circle hooks prevented the snapper from swallowing the hooks, so the releases were successful.
Tips: Cobia are strong fighters and require patience to catch. Be sure the fish is tired before you attempt to boat it. Cobia are known for wrenching arms when fishermen are trying to gaff them. They twist and turn very hard. Once gaffed, the fish should be placed directly into the fish box.
Grouper fishing will remain good, and you can expect to find fish closer to shore as the water cools. Plan on seeing the kingfish migration when water temperatures hit 78 degrees. Look for large bait schools and you should find kingfish.
Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call (727) 709-9396 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.