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Captain's Corner

Captains corner: Red grouper, tuna improve; kingfish on way out

What's hot: Red grouper fishing continues to follow a summer trend. Live baits will outproduce frozen baits for the rest of the summer. Although there have been good numbers of legal fish in depths of 70-100 feet, the larger fish have been caught in 130 feet and deeper. Concentrate on spots that have an abrupt depth change or roll-off in the bottom, with a large bait show on the low side of the roll.

Other targets: The annual run of blackfin tuna should reach the area any day now. These fish usually come in right behind the spring kingfish run. Targeting these fish can be tricky, as they are open-water swimmers. Look for fish busting bait on the surface. In most cases there are bonito in these busts, but where there are bonito, there should be tuna. When a school is located, start a steady but light flow of live chummers, such as whitebait or threadfin herring, to keep the fish around the boat. Tuna are what I like to call "fish of opportunity," as they are hard to target but quite easy to catch when you find them.

Kingfish: The end of the run is here. This year's run was a bit slower than previous years, mainly due to water temperatures that changed so much so fast. Kingfish are sensitive to temperature, and they have been known to move as much as 50 miles in a day. Look for some stragglers in depths of 60 feet or more.

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

Captains corner: Red grouper, tuna improve; kingfish on way out 05/12/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 19, 2011 5:20pm]
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