Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Captain's Corner

Captain's Corner: Gag grouper fishing strong as weather turns chilly

What's hot: Santa Claus did not leave us the weather we all asked for right after Christmas, but the conditions should improve as they do after each of these wintertime fronts. Anglers who have grasped the short windows of opportunity to venture offshore when weather permits have reported great results. Now that the majority of bait fish have left for warmer waters, the predators are feeding heavily in preparation for even tougher times to come. Gag grouper fishing has been excellent, though it is catch-photo-and-release fishing because of the closed season. One can return to a rocky outcropping where fish have been released and catch a large shallower gag over and over.

There are several species to target for table fare including red grouper, scamp, triggerfish, porgies, mangrove snapper and white grunts. For as long as I can remember it was necessary to target 70-90 feet for red grouper. There has been a dramatic change in both red grouper numbers and habits, and we've been finding keeper-sized fish in waters as shallow as 30 feet. Live baits are no longer a necessity, and most of the legal fish have been caught on squid, a combination of squid and Spanish sardine on the same hook, or a chunk of white grunt or other reef fish.

Tripletail are available to anglers who spend the time hunting them. Find a line of crab trap buoys, idle along them looking for the fish that will be very close or partially wrapped around the marker. Be prepared with a medium spinning outfit with a small jig or circle hook with a shrimp or chunk of sardine without any weight. It may take some hunting, but the explosive battle and great taste will make the time worthwhile.

Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.

Captain's Corner: Gag grouper fishing strong as weather turns chilly 12/28/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 7:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Fennelly: Dirk Koetter's apology no way to keep this fidget spinning

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It all began with a fidget spinner.

    This tweet from the Bucs, mocking the Falcons' 28-3 lead they lost in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, prompted a public apology from head coach Dirk Koetter, who called it "unprofessional and not smart."
  2. Perfection's not easy in baseball, just ask Calvary Christian

    Baseballpreps

    CLEARWATER — Of the more than 300 varsity high school baseball teams in Florida, only one has won every game this season: Calvary Christian. The Warriors are a perfect 28-0.

    Calvary Christian's Matheu Nelson (63) prepares to take an at bat during the first inning of Wednesday's (5/10/17) region baseball semifinal game between Trinity Prep and Calvary Christian in Clearwater.
  3. Rays shut out Angels to cap homestand, get back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays completed their seven-game homestand Thursday with a 4-0 victory against the Angels, a win that moved them back to .500 for the season.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) after they score on the single by center fielder Colby Rasmus (28) in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.
  4. Bucs suspended RB Doug Martin breaks his silence and says his drug problem is 'definitely behind me.'

    Blogs

    He would not talk about the drug he abused. He didn’t identify the rehab facility he entered last January or how long he was there.

    Doug Martin was contrite but optimistic about returning to the form he demonstrated as the NFL's second leading rusher two years ago.
  5. Kickoff times announced for Florida-Michigan, FSU-Alabama

    Blogs

    College football's blockbuster Sept. 2 season openers finally have kickoff times.