What's hot: The shallow water grouper bite has been fantastic in depths starting at 10 feet. Each passing cold front puts grouper on the move, so a structure that had few fish one week may be loaded the following week. Fishing shallow for grouper enables you to bounce from spot to spot, as if inshore. Spend half a day fishing for grouper on nearshore structure and half the day stalking redfish and trout on shallow flats.
Tactics: Grouper require a variety of natural and artificial baits. If trolling in shallow water, have different trolling plugs that dive to different depths, to fish the structure at all depths. A large jig trolled behind a planer is also effective. Troll a spot in a figure eight pattern to avoid fouling lines and offer the most productive presentation. Another tactic is to anchor up current of the structure and chum the grouper into a feeding frenzy. This can be exciting, as the grouper sometimes become so aggressive they crash baits on the surface.
Tackle: Stout tackle is necessary, though large spinning outfits can be used when chumming grouper away from their homes. Pinfish, squid, and frozen sardines are producing good bites, and big grouper have come on purple and gold plugs.
Seth Leto charters out of Tarpon Springs and can be reached at [email protected] and (727) 385-0382.