Active bottom fishing: We have had success getting out between tropical disturbances. Red grouper have been the most cooperative. Depths of 80 feet are still holding decent numbers of keepers. A few nice mangrove snapper have been added to the box. Bigger-than-usual Key West grunts also have been caught at that depth. Squid chunks on a double-hook rig get the grunts active, luring bigger grouper from nearby. We caught a few triggerfish on the same grunt rigs.
Where are the big gag grouper?: It could be a matter of days before their annual migration moves to shallower water. As the days get shorter, water temperatures drop to the lower 80s. That's when the migration begins. A cool front would accelerate this movement, because the water temps would drop faster.
Less fuel to burn: Last fall we had banner catches of gag grouper. The action started in September at 80 feet. Each week the fish worked closer to shore. By mid October we had a large number at 35 feet. This action lasted well into November, saving a ton of money on fuel. I expect the same action this year.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, jawstoo.com or (727) 595-3276.