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Captain's Corner

Captain's Corner: Head offshore for most fishing hits

What's hot: Offshore fishing for amberjack, grouper and mangrove snapper is excellent. With a warming trend and lighter winds this week, you should have ample opportunity to run offshore. Federal waters close the end of this month for grouper, so take advantage this week. We have been fortunate this winter with great weather. The past few cold fronts have made it tough to get offshore lately, however, the fish are ready to feed. We have consistently caught a limit of amberjack up to 50 pounds and grouper — red and gags — up to 14 pounds in depths of water 70 to 130 feet. The Pipeline is holding great numbers of snapper. Eighty feet and deeper depths are where to concentrate your efforts.

Tactics: One of our biggest challenges this season is the abundance of American red snapper. We boated a 22-pound American red snapper and released it in 110 feet of water. The snapper hit a live pinfish we had deployed for amberjack. Check the tides and the lunar tables to ensure that you are fishing and not moving on the major and minors. You can find the lunar tables in the Times. Make your major moves during slack tide.

Tackle: Go light to catch fish the next two months. Thirty-pound class tackle works for most of the fish we will be able to keep. Flat lines with light drags should produce bonita, black-fin tuna and possibly kingfish. Use wired leaders with a stinger rig to increase your hook-ups. On strong tides, produce a chum slick that will help bring fish to the transom of your boat.

Larry "Huffy'' Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island and can be reached at huffyl@tampabay.rr.com or (727) 709-9396.

Captain's Corner: Head offshore for most fishing hits 01/23/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 23, 2009 10:05pm]
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