Summer patterns: Offshore fishing during the summer can be a challenge. The water temperature can get to the point in the shallows that simply makes the fish move offshore to find their comfort zone. This warmer water also puts fish such as grouper and snapper into a different feeding pattern, with them feeding aggressively during the morning and late afternoon and the rest of the day being a small snack here and there.
Where to look: Target depths of 100 feet or more during the next few months as the water temperatures on the bottom in these depths can be 15-20 degrees cooler than the surface. Having live and frozen baits ensures good offerings for both feeding patterns.
Pelagic action: A huge freshwater mass from the Mississippi river is covering the middle of the gulf, and though the forecast is for it to move south, it is moving slowly. Your best bet for trolling is in depths of 500 feet or less, where the blue water is.
What's hot: Blackfin tuna fishing has been very good in 140 feet to about 250 feet. A well full of fresh cigar minnows or threadfin herring have been producing many 25- to 30-pound fish, with a few pushing more than 30 pounds. Look on wrecks and big ledges in these depths. Chumming with sardines usually works but live chumming ensures a better bite. We have also been getting some fish on the troll. Smaller baits such as Mold crafts and Billy Baits have been producing well.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at fintasticinc.com or (727) 642-3411