What's hot: Grouper fishing has been most consistent at 90-120 feet. Concentrate on the edges of hard bottom and potholes for red grouper in the 8- to 15-pound range. Live and frozen baits are producing about the same. Most of the larger fish have been attacking the bigger live baits.
Because the water is still quite warm, gag grouper action will continue to be a little slower. But if you concentrate on ledges and rock piles in these depths and have a well full of frisky live bait, the gags should cooperate.
Tactics: This hurricane season has been quite active, a perfect opportunity for what I call storm fishing. When storms are approaching, grouper and snapper will search out areas with large relief that will provide food and shelter from the swift water. Wrecks and large ledges are prime spots.
Tackle: A 7- to 8-foot medium- to heavy-action rod is required to get grouper away from structure. A reel with a gear ratio of 3.5 to 1 or less loaded with 60- to 80-pound line is an excellent setup. Terminal tackle should consist of a 3- to 6-ounce egg lead, 4-6 feet of 60- to 80-pound monofilament and a 6/0 to 8/0 hook.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at fintasticinc.com or (727) 642-3411.