What's hot: Offshore fishing has continued to be the best in several years because of great weather and (thanks to better regulations and angler ethics) more fish to target. The 65- to 90-foot depths have produced nonstop action from red grouper, white grunts, vermillion snapper and Lane snapper while bottom fishing. Trolling large and small spoons behind No. 1 and No. 2 planers after bottom fishing on a spot in a figure-eight pattern has resulted in a surprising number of kingfish, Spanish mackerel, bonito and an occasional barracuda. This trolling does not produce every time, but it works well enough to be worth a try.
Tip: If you do get a strike, it is worthwhile to have a couple of handfuls of cut-up sardines, squid or pinfish and toss them overboard when crossing the GPS number that you have bottom fished on. This tends to keep the targeted fish in the area. Once the 80-foot depths are reached, vermillion snapper, Lane snapper and yellowtail snapper can be targeted. These colorful and tasty smaller reef fish are difficult to catch on the larger hooks normally used for grouper. Switching to a double 1/0 hook snapper rig on light tackle will produce some exceptional action that will be memorable.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.