Nature Coast anglers will see an increase in grouper action in depths as shallow as 10 feet. Fishing will continue to improve in the coming weeks as the water cools.
Fishing the shallower rocks piles requires a bit of a change in technique from the straight up and down fishing that is the norm when grouper fishing. Grouper are no different than any other fish when it comes to being shy of engine and boat noise. I find it best to see what the drift is and try to anchor uptide a good 30 feet from the structure. I then deploy frozen and live chum "sardines" to try to lure them from their rocky lair. Many times the grouper will chase the live chum and explode out of the water in pursuit. Once the activity gets going a free-lined live bait is all it takes to provoke a strike. Heavy spinning tackle with 50-pound test braid and 60-pound fluorocarbon leader will do the job.
This style of fishing is effective in depths of 30 feet or less and it's great fun to see the fish come to the surface. Just remember there are some big fish in this shallow water; when one comes along be ready. With no line stretch with the braid, make sure to hold on with both hands.
Capt. Troy P. Sapp with Fins and Tails Guide service can be reached at (813) 920-6928.