Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Captain's Corner: Red snapper is plentiful

What's hot: Red snapper has been the first target on trips offshore this past week, and it could not get much easier. These fish are stacked as high as 100 feet off the bottom in some spots.

Tactics: Red snapper have ferocious appetites and usually devour any live or frozen bait. During a feed, the dominant ones will move up the water column. To target these fish, use a knocker rig. This consists of a smaller egg lead, about a quarter-ounce or half-ounce, placed on the main line right above the hook. The smaller lead makes bait look like a stunned baitfish sinking to the bottom and, therefore, an easy target. A more traditional tactic is a fish-finder rig. This has a sliding lead on the main line, a swivel connected to a length of leader and a hook. One effective trick is dropping this rig to the bottom baited with a sardine then reeling up about 20-30 feet of line (depending on depth).

Grouper: With gag grouper closed, we are targeting big red grouper in 120-180 feet. These fish will eat most offerings, including large Spanish sardines, pinfish and other live baits. Another great way to catch them is using a 3- to 4-ounce buck-tail jig. This past week, grouper caught with artificial baits were larger than ones taken with live or frozen baits.

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


Captainís Corner: Grouper moving in as water temperatures rise

Red grouper have made their move inshore this past week as waters closer to shore have warmed up a bit. Concentrate your efforts on hard bottom areas in depths of 100-120 feet for the rest of the month, and remember that all shallow water grouper are...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Spring fishing is fast approaching

Spring is trying to move in, with just a few cold fronts mixed in. The up-and-down air temperatures will slightly affect the water temperature and also affect the fishing. Fishing has been mostly incredible in North Pinellas. All of the species we ex...
Published: 03/18/18
Updated: 03/19/18

Captainís Corner: Cold causes spiny lobsters to go into hiding

The cold front that ended Wednesday drove the offshore bottom temperatures back down into the low 60s. On dives Friday, my dive computer read 62 degrees at the bottom in 54 feet of water. On the next dive it read 60 in 62 feet. We were looking for ho...
Published: 03/18/18

Captainís Corner: Snook are the hot bite

Surface water temperatures have dipped into the low 60s, but the fish donít seem to mind. The longer days get the temperature up and helps keep it from getting into the danger zone at night. Snook have been the hot bite this past week and, believe it...
Published: 03/16/18
Updated: 03/17/18

It has been a crazy month regarding all the drastic weather changes. We experienced a record-breaking warming trend in February, followed by an endless amount of cold weather this month. The arrival times for many spring migrations of fish has been i...
Published: 03/16/18

Captainís Corner: Big trout moving out of the shallows

February seemed like March with record-breaking heat, but now March seems like February with below-average temperatures. This is a good thing. Spring fishing has started way too early in the past few years. The cold-water temperature we have now will...
Published: 03/14/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Captainís Corner: Temperature changes affect fly fishing

Having a fantastic river trip one day where we caught a lot of snook in shallow water on a fly and going back to the same location three days later and not finding any cooperative fish can be very puzzling. What happened? Recent warm weather was repl...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/14/18

Captainís Corner: Warming trend increasing activity over grass flats

Water temperatures have finally started to climb into the low 70s on the flats. The temperatures have been fluctuating with the past few cold fronts moving through. Large schools of reds should start showing up on the flats in the Pinellas Point area...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/13/18
Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

We traditionally look at two holidays to signal the start of trolling season for kingfish and Spanish mackerel along with their attendant migratory companions, blackfin tuna, cobia and barracuda. These are St. Patrickís Day (March 17) and Columbus Da...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/12/18

Captainís Corner: Spring fishing is getting close

When the weather settles down in the bay area, spring fishing should shift quickly into high gear. Just before the recent heavy winds arrived and churned the nearshore gulf into a muddy mess, seasonal migratory fish were showing up all over town. For...
Published: 03/10/18
Updated: 03/11/18