Thursday, January 18, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Gag grouper on the outside ledges

As bottom temperatures in the gulf continue to drop, fish are moving closer to shore. This past week the bottom temperature in 50-85 feet due west of St. Petersburg reached a low of 65 degrees. Gag grouper are hanging outside the ledges, but most of the legal-sized gags are staying away from divers. Gags have become more and more wary as their season has progressed. Divers who can see their outline on the edge of visibility and can quickly identify them are able to spear them before they dissolve into the dim water. Red grouper have not moved in as fast as the gags. Hogfish are in all depths. Mangrove snapper are happy in these cooler water temperatures, and they are everywhere. In the past couple of weeks, we've seen "out of season" red snappers in depths as shallow as 60-70 feet, and all were legal size, but the season is closed on reds. In all my years diving the gulf, I've never seen red snapper so close to shore in such large concentrations. Their populations is doing well. The underwater visibility is good until you get a few feet off the bottom. Just off the sea floor, the particulate from the last cold front is still settling to the bottom.

Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 and [email protected]

Comments

Captainís Corner: Cold weather brings different but effective fishing styles

This past week has seen a variety of different fishing styles prove effective. Fishing for trout in deeper depressions with live shrimp has provided steady action. Rig as follows: Use a ?-ounce jighead, grab a shrimp from the well and pinch the tail ...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Devise a strategy before heading out into the cold

The quality of fishing this month depends on how many cold fronts are in our future. When the water creeps down below 60 degrees, many fish will slow their metabolism in order to survive. They require less food than in the warmer months, making some ...
Published: 01/16/18

Captainís Corner: Make sure the fly gets in front of a hungry fish

Back-to-back winter cold fronts not only confuse inshore fish but the fly fishers who pursue them. The most perfectly tied fly is not effective unless it is in front of a fish that is anxious to eat it. The best daytime tides, very low early and inco...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/14/18

Captainís Corner: Cold, windy days just fine for trout fishing

Trout have been my most productive target during the start of this new year. Winter cold fronts and cold water are making conditions difficult to target snook and reds. Strong winds from passing fronts make it hard to work the shallow-water flats. Th...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/13/18

Captainís Corner: Cold driving out kings, but there are alternatives

Mother Nature gives and she takes away. Nature gave us warm water and great king fishing until Dec. 31. She ushered in the new year with a severe cold front with high winds and rough seas that kept us in port every day. The cold air and overcast skie...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18

Captainís Corner: Techniques for catching (and cooking) tasty sheepshead

Cold water has fishing in sort of slow motion. Middle bay temperatures (Gandy area) are holding in the 54-56 degree range. During this time of year the stalking of large snook and redfish take a back seat to finesse fishing and trying to figure out w...
Published: 01/10/18
Captainís Corner: Colder weather calls for different approaches

Captainís Corner: Colder weather calls for different approaches

With colder weather the first big change is what bait to use. Before the cold fronts in the first week we were using greenbacks and catching a bunch of snook. With the cold weather that has hit us we are now shifting gears and using shrimp and throwi...
Published: 01/08/18
Updated: 01/09/18

Captainís Corner: Winter need not interrupt fishing

The inevitable effects of wintertime fishing have finally arrived, but there are plenty of opportunities for the determined angler. Trout, both silver and specs, are cold water tolerant and among the best bets inshore. Now too is when schools of shee...
Published: 01/07/18
Updated: 01/08/18

Captainís Corner: With this cold, itís time for sheepshead

With cold air and water temperatures, nothing is hot when it comes it fishing. An eight-year recovery on snook erased by water temperatures in the 50s. January has not been kind so far. Thereís basically one solid option in times like these: sheepshe...
Published: 01/06/18
Updated: 01/07/18

Captainís Corner: Cold weather shouldnít stop you from targeting trout

Dealing with cold water is nothing new for trout anglers. Most often, fish head to deeper water as they seek more stable temperatures; consequently, deep water near your favorite grass flat will often hold schools of trout until the water temperature...
Published: 01/06/18