What's hot: We have caught red and gag grouper consistently. The key is not always targeting a specific location. We have caught our limits by covering lots of areas, searching at slow speeds and monitoring the bottom machine. In one day we often try 10 spots, and we find new spots daily. When we slow (to about 10 knots), we turn the gain sensor up on the sonar machine. This lets us see anything beneath the boat. A 600-watt sounder is adequate in 100 feet or shallower.
The proof: Perfect examples of this old-school method of grouper digging happened numerous times recently. We found new locations of grouper every day we fished. If the bottom showed life and the images on the sonar showed an extremely rocky bottom, we gave it a try. Sometimes nothing was found. If no bites occurred after 2-3 minutes, we reeled the lines up and started searching again. When we saw a spot that looked intriguing, we spun around and dropped the anchor, giving it a short period of trail. Normally, if a grouper of any size hits the bait immediately, hold on because bigger fish are close by. We have reached our limit on grouper every day for weeks using this aggressive approach to grouper digging.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or visit jawstoo.com.