Look for a window: Weather will play an important role in offshore trips over the next few months. Many websites assist us in planning. Looking at extended forecasts and wind direction helps, but having a flexible work schedule ensures the best trips.
Shallow-water grouper: Bottom fishing between cold fronts can be rewarding. Gag grouper are in tune with the barometric pressure and frontal boundaries. They tend to stack up on structures such as wrecks and ledges right before a front and will stay on the bottom until the weather subsides.
Right time to go: When a front approaches from the north, the winds will come out of the south or southwest. As the front passes, we will get a few hours of rain and the winds will start coming from the north. Depending on the severity of the front, the north winds will last a couple of days. But as soon as these winds subside to 10-15 mph, it is time to get out there. The gags will be hungry and will feed heavily for a few days before leaving in search of more food.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.