What's hot: Red snapper fishing couldn't get any easier. These fish usually devour any live or frozen bait as long as it is presented in the right way. Start with sardines until the bite is in full swing, then as things start to slow down switch to live bait. During a feed, the larger and more dominant snapper will move up in the water column. To target these fish, try a knocker rig, which consists of a smaller egg lead placed on the main line right above the hook. The smaller lead will present the bait so that it looks like a stunned baitfish.
Red and gag grouper fishing are excellent. Look for red grouper under bait stacks on the edges of hard bottom areas. One way to tell if there are grouper on these spots is with a drift drop, pulling just upcurrent or upwind of your desired location and dropping a few test bait in the middle of the fish show. If the spot has fish, you should know within 10-15 seconds of hitting bottom. Looks at ledges and roll-offs in these same areas for gag grouper. These fish will not venture far from home, so anchor right over the structure. Live bait is usually key.
Other options: For the next couple of months, pelagic species such as mahi-mahi, sailfish, blackfin tuna and wahoo will be invading our offshore waters.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at fintasticinc.com or (727) 642-3411.