Keeper red grouper have become active on the hard-bottom areas in 90 feet and can be caught by drifting or anchoring. Anchoring has been more effective lately because other species are drawn into the circle of activity created by the feeding grouper. Yellowtail snapper, lane snapper, white grunts and triggerfish are being caught by anglers downsizing to 1/0 or 2/0 live bait hooks that fit into the mouth of the reef fish. Gag grouper, triggerfish and mangrove snapper are active on the ledges in 60 to 70 feet with the majority of the keeper gags caught on live pinfish, squirrelfish and sardines. Barracuda, amberjack and some kingfish are active on all wrecks in 80 feet and deeper for those slow-trolling blue runners, Spanish sardines and hardtails.
Reminder: Red snapper season opens today, including the requirement that nonstainless-steel circle hooks be used when targeting any reef fish with live or dead natural bait.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach and can be reached at Luckytoo2@aol.com or