Monday, December 18, 2017
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Plenty of choices in 40 feet and deeper

What's hot: Water temperatures have rebounded from what, hopefully, will be winter lows. The cold caused a dramatic slowing of benthic activity, and offshore bottom fishing followed suit. Red and gag grouper, scamp, white grunts, porgies and trigger fish have been ravenous for the past week in waters deeper than 40 feet. Using 2/0 No. 2 hook snapper rigs with squid strips has generated almost instantaneous activity for reef dwellers. Because of the great action experienced while using these smaller rigs on light tackle, many of our parties have refused to switch to more conventional medium grouper tackle.

Tactics: Targeting ledges and higher-profile rock piles will result in creating memories. You must catch, photograph and release gag grouper because of the closed season until July 1. Mark Sosin once said, "A fish is too valuable to be caught only once." Carefully releasing a large gag after a battle and knowing someone else can have this same experience has become very rewarding. There are many other species available to provide "meat" for the table and freezer.

Tip: Schools of blue runners have invaded most of the markers in the shipping channel. They also can be found on many artificial reefs and caught with Sabiki rigs. They are a great bait to entice red and gag grouper. Cutting off part or all of the tail and hooking them above the anal fin will slow them down, creating a tempting bait for bottom fish.

Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.

Comments

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Published: 12/16/17
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Published: 12/15/17

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Updated: 12/13/17

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Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Captainís Corner: Sheepshead action lively in cooler weather

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Published: 12/09/17
Updated: 12/10/17

Captainís Corner: Fishing will return to normal, but when?

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Published: 12/08/17
Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

I canít believe we are in the last month of the year. And while this is one of my favorite months to fish, it will be controlled by weather. As cold fronts become more frequent and harsh, planning your trips around them will make the biggest differen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Captainís Corner: Strong results for redfish, speckled trout

This is a great time for variety. Combined trips for speckled trout and redfish are achieving excellent results. With the correct approach, great catches of both species are a reality now. The best anglers use the lightest tackle. Light rods and reel...
Published: 12/05/17
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