What's hot: Red grouper season remains steady. Tuesday, we reached our limit, 24 keepers (four per person), in an hour. Minimal wind allowed us to stop the boat uptide and drop our lines.
Tackle: I suggest 8-ounce sinkers while drift fishing. The extra weight allows each baited hook to stay in formation during the drift. Depths from 65-120 feet are holding red grouper. Some areas seem to have better numbers than others, so a bit of exploring might be needed.
Tips: During the middle of our trip, one client began to tussle with something obviously larger than a red grouper. After a minute of battle, a giant cobia came to the surface accompanied by an even larger one. To add to the excitement, the bigger fish took one of the other lines, causing quite a tangled mess. This double cobia hook-up caused even more commotion because four anglers still had their grouper lines out. Inevitably, many of the lines got tangled. Immediately, we free-spooled the lines on the reels hooked to cobia. This tactic relieved the pressure, allowing them to swim freely at the surface. Eventually, all lines were cleared. Whenever lines get tangled by a big fish, release pressure on at least one.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or visit jawstoo.com.