Saturday, January 20, 2018
Outdoors

Captains corner: Follow grouper to cooler water

What's hot: Grouper are a top choice as long as the water temperatures stay below the mid 80s on the surface. Once it gets warmer the fish that are now comfortable in the 50- to 70-foot depths will move to the cooler, 100- to 150-foot depths. Because of the active southerly tropical winds, the fish are on the move, looking for places to hunker down during times when the wind and currents run hard. Live baits continue to outproduce frozen baits.

Other targets: Last week, we came across a 5-mile by 5-mile stretch of water in 150 feet that was noticeably darker and cleaner than the surrounding areas. While fishing this area for a few days, we encountered king mackerel, mahi-mahi, tuna and even topped a trip off with a 60-pound wahoo.

Preparation: Wahoo and kingfish have sharp teeth, so wire rigs are a must. We rig rods with a 3-ounce bucktail jig in case we spot cobia. Have another spinning rod with 40- to 50-pound fluorocarbon leader tied to a 6/0 circle hook in case a sailfish shows.

Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.

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