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Captain's Corner

Captain's Corner: Offshore fishing heats up in June, July

What's hot: June and July offer some of the year's best offshore fishing, including red snapper, blackfin tuna, mahi-mahi, wahoo and sailfish.

Snapper: Target depths vary depending on the areas. If you are heading north of Clearwater, look in 70 feet on rock piles and ledges. If you are heading south, start at 120 feet. These fish are not picky when it comes to bottom structures. If there is bait, the snapper will likely be there. Use smaller baits such as sardines, pilchards or squid. Watch your bottom machine for large shows. Stop the boat over them and drop. If you don't get a hit in the first 30 seconds, look elsewhere. These are schooling fish, and because they are so aggressive, they should hit the bait before it hits the bottom.

Pelagics: June also marks the start of our trolling season. Recent trips to 130 feet and deeper have produced many blackfin tuna and a few mahi-mahi. So the rest of the season looks promising. The loop current is quite a bit south of our area right now but will push its way up here this month. It will bring much-needed nutrients to our waters; thus bringing great trolling. A simple trolling spread will do just fine. This will consist of running two smaller baits such as Billy Baits on either side about 50 yards behind the boat. These will be your tuna and mahi-mahi baits. Inside of them, you can run a couple of Islanders with ballyhoos short on either side. These baits are great for sailfish and wahoo.

Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 or

Captain's Corner: Offshore fishing heats up in June, July 06/01/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 6:54pm]
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