What's hot: Red grouper fishing offshore has been good. Deeper rolloffs and hard-bottom edges have brought 8- to 20-pound catches. Large live baits have produced the larger fish, and some monsters have been fooled with large bucktail jigs. Many fish have been caught deeper than 90 feet. The most consistent spots have been 120-140 feet. Anchoring is best; drifting typically scatters the fish.
What else: Amberjack of 35-40 pounds have been dependable at wrecks and springs in 100-200 feet. Larger fish have been caught with big baits such as grunts and porgies. Some spots have so many fish, we used large spinning rods and topwater plugs. There is nothing like pitching a plug off the stern and seeing 20 monster jacks crush it 10 feet from the boat.
Snapper/mangrove: Snapper fishing has been spotty. The best bet lately has been in 90-120 feet. Live pilchards usually are best, but because of the passing fronts and dirty water near the passes, they have been inconsistent. The next-best option is a medium to large live shrimp. The keen eyesight of snapper makes fluorocarbon leader a must. Use hooks as small as possible with little or no lead.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.