What's hot: Wind associated with Hurricane Sandy interrupted weekend offshore fishing plans for many anglers. Northwest winds of more than 35 knots tossed the gulf into a rolling froth. Before the storm, king mackerel had been quite close to shore and gag grouper were in areas as shallow as 20 feet. The mackerel relocated to deeper water to escape rough conditions. The grouper moved too, but not nearly as far. They will seek the shelter of wrecks, high-profile reefs and big, natural breaks to displace the rolling sea.
Tips: Though conditions will improve somewhat, don't expect the fish to rush back to the beach soon. Dirty water isn't a favorite of mackerels, while grouper aren't as picky. Both species will be hungry and willing to take anything they can eat. Many seasoned anglers say this has been one of the best years of shallow-water grouper fishing in recent memory. An abundance of legal-size grouper could be found on most hard bottom areas within a couple miles of shore. In one more day another season fishing for gag grouper will be over. After Wednesday it's catch and live release. Check myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/groupers/gulf-grouper/ for FWC rules.
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit www.CaptainLarryBlue.com.