What's hot: In late summer as inshore fishing tends to slow, nearshore rock piles and ledges can provide hours of great action. There have been plenty of grouper as well as grunts, mangrove snapper and a few Spanish mackerel inhabiting the structures with the most bait schools. There are several nearshore rocks and good live-bottom areas holding grouper 2-9 miles off the northern Pinellas coast. It might take several moves and a lot of short fish to get keepers. The rock piles attracting swarms of hatchling baits are producing the most keeper-sized grouper.
Tackle: On conventional reels, use 40-pound mainline, 50- to 80-pound leader, circle hooks and a 4-ounce weight to get to the bottom. Light-spinning tackle with a 15- to 20-pound line can offer more exciting action, but be prepared for breakoffs. Pieces of cut squid on a small hook with a light splitshot will get grunts on almost every drop when around the rocks.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and through his website at captbrian.com.