Different tactics: We will have a lot of grunts to fillet this week now that gag grouper fishing is shut down for the next six months. Winter is enough of a restriction, but we will abide by the law and keep only what species are allowed.
The other white meat: Amberjack will become a mainstay for many anglers the next six months. On many of our winter trips, we'll explore a bit deeper in search of red grouper. We caught a few nice-sized reds in 105 feet recently, after amberjack fishing in the deeper waters of the gulf. The bigger reds are in at least that depth, but don't expect to reach the limit on them. They are not plentiful, but we did catch a few at 10 pounds.
Bait choice: Squid will be anglers' choice this winter. Key West grunts, red grouper, lane snapper and trigger fish devour these tender baits as soon as they hit bottom. A double-hooked porgy rig is best. The grunts, porgies and trigger fish are small, so filleting techniques need to be sharpened. Numerous bones from the spine and rib cage should be cut out.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or see www.jawstoo.com.