What's hot: We ventured offshore Thursday in thick fog. The first stop was Egmont Channel markers 3 and 4, where we loaded the boat with hard tails, large pinfish and grass grunts. We then punched offshore 32 nautical miles over a shipwreck and caught amberjack. The action was nonstop for three hours.
We were hopeful the fog would burn off during midday, but it stayed the entire trip. Changing locations, we moved inshore to areas that traditionally hold large red grouper. We caught more than 25 grouper with one keeper red and released three nice gags.
Tactics: The tides were fairly slow and barely any wind with the fog, so we decided to drift fish for amberjack and grouper. We chummed the amberjack away from the shipwreck by throwing small live pinfish we obtained from pinfish traps, which are a smart way to get live bait and save money. The live bait chumming worked well, and we got the amberjack to the surface. The aggressive feeding competition between two dozen 30-pound amberjack was impressive.
We fished for grouper in 90 feet on flat hard-bottom, Swiss cheese rock. We chose the location and type of bottom to avoid the American red snapper. Our best results were drifting live pinfish hooked through the nose.
Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island, and can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 709-9396.