What's hot: Routine afternoon thunderstorms are the concern for offshore fishing. Because the storms are so prevalent, many anglers are keeping trips short and close to shore. While summertime fishing is usually better the deeper you go, shallow water has proven to be quite worthwhile. Legal size red grouper have been found in 40 feet and some gag (black) grouper even closer.
Tips: Most recent trips have started out by catching an assortment of short red grouper and the ever-present Key West grunts. The key is to anchor on a good area of live rocky bottom. Rods baited with pieces of squid and cut sardines get the fish biting. And the steady activity will stimulate the curiosity of bigger grouper.
Technique: To catch the larger fish, have a stout rod baited with a lively pinfish on the bottom near the commotion of other feeding fish. An indication that bigger gag grouper are nearby will be a few moments when the other fish cease feeding.
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit CaptainLarryBlue.com.