What's hot: It's hard to remember when fishing for gag grouper was as easy as it has been recently. This week we made several trips to put red grouper on ice before the closure Friday. Using squid for bait, we began catching large grunts, and switching to sardines we caught several red grouper. We had a good bite going before a gang of gags took over. We were pulling up two at a time on the 2-hook rigs we set up for the smaller fish.
Technique: It was fun catching and releasing the gags, but it got to be too much trouble to keep pulling in the bigger fish and breaking off leaders. Lifting the anchor and moving to another spot was the only way to get enough grunts and our limit of red grouper. That's not something we would normally complain about, but since the closure, the gag grouper have almost become a nuisance.
Tips: Some Spanish and a few king mackerel have been found on the man-made reefs. Plan on taking some time to locate them, but you should be rewarded with at least a meager catch.
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit www.CaptainLarryBlue.com.