Grouper fishing is exceptional in all depths from 60 to 140 feet. Concentrate on natural bottom as an alternative to wrecks and reefs, as these areas receive less fishing pressure. Live bait is outproducing frozen offerings.
Amberjack can be found on most wrecks and springs in more than 100 feet of water. Chum with live horse minnows or small threadfins, which can be netted on the uptide side of most bridges before sunup.
As the water temperature reaches into the upper 70s, blackfin tuna will show more and more. Again, chumming live bait gets the fish feeding. This is a great time to try the fly rod or light tackle gear.
Large schools of smaller king mackerel have invaded many inshore reefs and wrecks. Large schools of bait should keep these fish in the same areas for a while. Both live and artificial baits have been producing, but the live baits are tricking the larger fish. Blue runners and mullet are proven big fish baits. Stinger rigs work best because king mackerel feed at such a high rate of speed. Use only a 6- to 10-inch length of wire and a single hook if you are releasing fish.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 or www.fintasticinc.com.