Deeper the better: Water temperatures have continued to climb, and most offshore species have started to move to deeper water. Depths from 90 feet out will yield the best bottom fishing, and anglers might encounter some pelagic species as well. Gag and red grouper will be on hard bottom and ledges that are holding bait stacks. This is when a live bait offering is best. Large pinfish the size of a hand tend to produce larger fish and will deter the red snapper that have almost been a nuisance with their numbers and aggressive feeding habits. For those who have caught their limit of grouper, switch to lighter tackle and small bait offerings to entice a wide variety.
Tips: Beyond 100 feet of water, trolling can be very effective as you search for new fishing spots. Four-inch Billy Baits trolled at 6 to 10 knots work for most pelagic fish. Mahi mahi, wahoo, blackfin tuna and an occasional sailfish might appear. Troll a couple of lures out each side then put one down the middle way back as the tunas are very shy of the boat.
Troy P. Sapp with Fins and Tails Guide Service can be reached at (813) 920-6928.