Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Red grouper fishing will stay hot, no matter the weather

Red grouper fishing will continue to be hot for the next month even if the weather is not. Large numbers of fish in the 8- to 12-pound class have been in depths of 50-120 feet for some time. Grouper, especially red grouper, can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures and should stay in these depths as long as temperatures don't dip into the 50s. If that happens, look for grouper to push a bit farther offshore to stay in their preferred zone. There is no need for live bait while grouper fishing for the next few months. Lower temperatures make the fish lazy, and they will not want to work hard for their next meal. Securing a quality assortment of frozen baits such as sardines, Boston mackerel and squid is key. The freshest baits make the best presentation and make a huge difference in getting a bite going. Some anglers soak these baits the night before an offshore trip in Menhaden oil, which will mimic the smell of a typical feeding frenzy on the bottom over your spot. Amberjack have invaded many offshore wrecks and springs in depths of 70-200 feet. Though their aggressive nature makes them attack just about any artificial presentation, live baits are hard to beat for quantity. On a typical trip, a large live well full of hundreds of baits will be secured on the way offshore. Upon arrival we deploy dozens of "live chummers" to get the fish on the feed. Once the fish are feeding near the surface, we switch to vertical jigs, subsurface swimming baits and surface lures to target the most aggressive — and many times the largest — fish on the spot. Remember that amberjack now must be 34 inches to be kept, and because they are so large, a limit is not always required to bring home a lot of meat for the table. This time of year requires a good bit of planning for a trip offshore. We are always aware of the timing of the next cold front and make sure not to be out when one comes through because of strong winds. Many sites online offer great weather forecasts, along with real-time data that can be onboard through XM weather or VHF radio.

Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.

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Captainís Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

Captainís Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

As water temperatures continue to climb, more and more permit are showing up on wrecks and ledges off the Suncoast area. These highly prized members of the jack family appear every spring and gather into large aggregations for spawning. Most of this ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Captainís Corner: Time nears for snook, tarpon out at the beaches

With summerlike air temperatures coming in the next couple of weeks, snook will be moving out to the beaches and tarpon will start cruising there. Itís my favorite time of year to fish. With snook on the beaches and passes, you would think their biol...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18

Captainís Corner: Variables are all that is constant when it comes to art of fishing

The unique variables and ever-changing conditions of fishing are what set it apart from most other sports. Basketball goals donít move, baseball diamonds are basically the same and tennis courts never change. Fishing, on the other hand, is constantly...
Published: 04/21/18

Captainís Corner: King mackerel the hot topic as gulf waters warm

King mackerel is always the hot topic this time of year, with tournaments every weekend for two months. Some believe that massive schools in the gulf migrate from their fall haunts in south Florida and the Keys to the north, with the larger females (...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

After significant winds from a front last week, things are calming down and fish are turning on again. Bait has gotten predictable and easier to chum on the flats after moving to deeper water during the front. Iíve been targeting trout at first light...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/19/18

Captainís Corner: Rush of warmer water in gulf heats up fishing on offshore reefs, wrecks

The rush of warmer water on our offshore reefs and wrecks in the Gulf of Mexico has brought with it a cadre of pelagic fish. Divers and anglers have enjoyed the influx of cobia, kingfish and more. The benthic (bottom) fish are splurging on the balls ...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Captainís Corner: Spring bite is solid despite wacky weather

Bipolar weather continues to confuse both fish and anglers. Fortunately the water temperature has gotten high enough that the effects donít last long and the spring bite continues to be solid. Snook are still the hot bite in many areas around the bay...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Captainís Corner: Kingfish, sharks provide aerial displays

Fishing was good this past Saturday, ahead of the cold front. We fished close to shore about 2 miles. Our approach was simple. We anchored the boat, fished with live baits and chummed heavily. Kingfish action was nonstop for the entire morning. We ca...
Published: 04/16/18

Captainís Corner: Trolling or anchoring up, kingfish bite is hot

Are you looking for line-screaming action? Head offshore. The kingfish bite has been good, though high winds may require a wait for the water to clear. The best numbers have been about 5 miles out on the hard bottom. Trolling for kingfish works well;...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/15/18

Captainís Corner: Spring run is the most wonderful time of the year

The full spring run of all species in our area is in full swing. Whatever species you would like to target, inshore or offshore, is as good as it gets this time of year. Redfish schools have shown up in the flats around Pinellas Point, but they are i...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18