Red grouper: This summer, grouper fishing remains consistent. Red grouper are more prevalent in waters of 45 feet and beyond. We sometimes have to hit numerous spots before finding the jackpot. Some patches of flat hard-bottom will hold fish, while others seem barren. Many times we'll get great action without any trace of their presence from the sonar. Any size fish is a true indicator that the action is about to bust loose. It's definitely a chain reaction: As a fish gets hooked, it often regurgitates undigested fish from its belly. This becomes a perfect chum slick, firing up the appetites of onlookers. Many of the keeper grouper swim over to investigate the commotion. They could come from 100 yards away at times.
Gag grouper: Their season opens today, allowing anglers to keep multiple species. Many depths will be able to produce, from 20 to 200 feet. Live pinfish, grunts and squirrelfish are our bait of choice for big gags. Unlike red grouper, gags tend to live in ledges and limestone crevices and under cuts and wrecks. Basically, the higher relief spots hold better numbers. If you had a spot that produced gags in the past, most likely you'll be able to reproduce action from it the next few weeks.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or visit jawstoo.com.