Big jacks: An unusual amount of amberjack has settled over many wrecks. If you jig up a few blue runners, you should be hooked up immediately with a giant amberjack. For the past five years, amberjack have arrived in December. Healthy water conditions are surely an important ingredient for their early movement.
Not Flipper: A larger than normal version of the dolphin fish (mahi mahi) has been rewarding anglers the past few weeks in depths of 60-plus feet. Five- to 7-pounders have been aggressive once spotted behind the boat. After hooking the first one, leave it in the water for the school to follow, then drop in baits to hook more.
Bottom fishing: Red grouper fishing remains strong, especially in 80-plus feet. Our annual gag grouper migration has been lackluster. Expect one more cold front to precede the gags' arrival. A few smaller keepers have been caught in depths of 30 feet. Soon, the bigger fish should be devouring offerings in depths as shallow as 20 feet.
Big macks: Kingfish have been arriving daily. But most of the bigger fish are still offshore. The most recent tournament had numerous fish pulled from large ledges in the Middle Grounds area. Boats equipped with double motors and built to go fast could make the 80-plus-mile run and still get back to the scales in time to weigh a big one. We should have more big fish closer to shore with the arrival of one more cold front.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach and can be reached at [email protected], jawstoo.com or (727) 595-3276.