With cold fronts coming in every few days, the chances of getting to deep water about 60 miles out are not looking good. And using one style of fishing is a sure way to limit trips. Versatility is going to be key this month.
Target areas: When a front passes and seas offshore make grouper fishing difficult, try fishing for gags in Tampa Bay. Whether trolling with deep diving plugs or anchoring over lively bottom, anglers fishing in the bay will find a steady supply of gags for the next few months.
Trolling: Start by locating the shipping channel's edge, which will drop from 5 to 15 feet. Run at least two baits at different depths. Use two styles of baits or a downrigger. The ideal situation would to run over the depth change and have one bait on top of the edge and the other bait on the bottom.
Anchoring: There are many small ledges and rock piles in the bay. They are in areas rarely traveled by most boats because many are looking for fish around the channel itself.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 or at fintasticinc.com.