What's hot: Red snapper season in federal waters lasts only through July 14. We are finding good numbers of larger fish (6-20 pounds) in 140 feet and deeper. They will eat just about any offering, but soft baits such as sardines and smaller northern mackerel ensure more hook-ups.
Tackle: Because we will spend more time in deeper water, have certain rigs ready. One rod should be rigged with a 50-pound test and 7/0 circle hook, good for cobia, larger mahi or sailfish that might show up while bottom fishing. Another should have a trace of wire connected to an 8/0 hook for toothy critters such as kingfish and wahoo.
Tips: At these depths, expect to find red grouper of 8-15 pounds. Live baits such as pinfish and grass grunts get the job done. Artificial baits such as bucktail jigs (three-quarters of an ounce) sometimes will get an aggressive fish off a spot.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.