Fishing returned to above normal once the seas subsided to fishable conditions last week. Now that gag grouper season is closed, game plans must take that into account. Red grouper remain open until Sunday, and though many short ones below the 20-inch minimum can be caught closer to shore, one must travel to the 60-foot depths and deeper to ensure some keepers. There is plenty of various limestone structure running along the 10-fathom curve, shown on all charts, and we have been targeting these areas.
Red grouper inhabit low-profile areas of scattered rock in this depth along with white grunts, mangrove snapper, scamp and triggerfish. Hoping to fill the "gag gap" with some amberjack from the wrecks southwest of John's Pass proved fruitless. Thankfully the limestone areas within a mile or two were productive for red grouper and large mangrove snapper. Ed Orminski caught and released an out-of-season red snapper that was close to 10 pounds.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.