What's hot: Bottom fishing offshore at this time of year takes a little more planning than in cooler months. The water temperature is climbing, and the grouper will be getting into a slower feed. The best advice is get on the water as early as possible. Grouper and snapper will be most active early in the morning until early afternoon, then late afternoon until dark. The use of live bait is imperative.
Tactics: Locating these fish is also more difficult at this time of the year because they spread out on hard-bottom areas in search of food. One day, an area is covered with grouper, snapper and bait. The next, it is deserted. The reason? When not holding on structures, these fish follow the bait schools.
Tips: Surprisingly, there are scattered areas in shallow water paying off with red and gag grouper. It is unusual for this time of year. But because of all of the bait schools in 60-90 feet, there have been fish.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.