Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Kingfish, gag grouper fishing at their peak

A great month: October is becoming another great fishing month. Many options are available offshore and inshore. Kingfish are going to be the hot ticket for the next few weeks. Each cool front that passes through opens the door for another batch of fish to swim our way. The best approach is to look for schools of baitfish. Most of the early arrivals are quite hungry and ready to attack any school of baitfish that swim in its path. We have caught kings in all depths this past week, from directly out of the pass within a mile to more than 20 miles from shore.

Bottom fishing tips: Gag grouper fishing is still consistent in depths of 25 to 35 feet. When the water is stirred up, the fish feed aggressively. All bait work at this time. After a cool front passes and the water clears, you'll have to get a bit creative to get the gags to open their mouths. A light sinker with a live grunt or pinfish is a great way to get the bite started. Toss the pinfish far away from the boat and toward the bow. Let the current take the bait back to where it eventually drifts by the rock you are anchored over. Gags cannot resist free-swimming live bait as they slowly drift by. Sometimes it takes a throw or two to get the ball rolling, but I assure you a larger fish from the pack will nail the bait. All you will feel is a sharp strike when it takes the bait. Reel as fast as you can when you feel it.

Snags aren't always bad: If a gag gets you in the rocks, there is positive action that can be taken. This allows you to pinpoint the hole where the other gags are congregating. Any future tosses up tide can be directed more accurately toward the spot where the fish rocked you.

Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or visit jawstoo.com.

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