What's biting: Another sailfish stole the show last week. We were in 90 feet of water, fishing for red grouper, when the billfish took a flat line. We always try to throw out free-lined live baits when we are bottom digging. The commotion can attract curious fish from all directions, especially when lots of bottom fish are brought up. Kingfish, cobia, barracuda, mahi, sharks and even a few wahoo have visited our spread this summer. In this case, we were catching plenty of grouper when the sail came under the boat. It grabbed a small grouper as it was being reeled up. The grouper was only 18 inches but was too big for the 50-pound sail to swallow. It swam along the surface for about 30 seconds with the grouper in its mouth sideways. We were all amazed at the sail's persistency as it tried to engulf a fish much too big for its mouth. Eventually the sail gave in.
Tactics: The new target was a free-lined cigar minnow, tossed behind the boat minutes earlier. The rod bent and we were off to the races. A sailfish is the fastest fish in the gulf. Twenty minutes later, we had the speedster boatside for a few quick photos. The fish was released to fight another day.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, jawstoo.com or (727) 595-3276.