What's hot: Gag grouper remains one of the best options both inshore and offshore. Normally the fish move deeper when the water gets hot and return in the fall as it cools, but now there are good numbers of gags in shallow water. Anglers out of Tarpon Springs have been catching their two-per-person limit in less than 25 feet of water. Fishing for other species in that depth, however, has been spotty.
Tips: Outside 15 miles, the gag bite has been spectacular, and there are other options once you fill your limit. Red grouper have been active in 50 to 80 feet, with the best activity near deep bait pods. Even if the bottom does not look appealing on the sonar, it's worth dropping a few lines when you see stacks of bait. Reds will roam over open bottom while following and feeding on migrating baitfish. Also around deep bait pods lately are kingfish. There have been quite a few in 60-foot depths. If you find your grouper hooks getting clipped off, try drifting a live bait out on a wire leader.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (727) 944-3474.