Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Captain's Corner

Captains corner: The trick is fishing around the off-limit gags

What's hot: Pesky gag grouper are almost becoming a nuisance, especially if you are trying to catch a cooler full of tasty grunts, or maybe legal red grouper. Gag grouper, which are currently off limits in gulf state waters and must be released, seem to be racing to beat the other fish for a tidbit of squid. A recent trip brought several big gags to the surface on light-tackle rods baited for grunts. Many times we had to rerig from our 30-pound-test leaders that were broken off by the larger fish.

In years past, wintertime gag grouper were the mainstay of many local anglers. It was something we looked forward to during the long, hot summer. Winter gulf conditions don't allow for many windfree days, so fishing close to shore was a blessing for small-boat anglers.

Cooperative weather: Recent conditions have been ideal for fishing, with relatively light winds and calm seas. This past week it has been almost calm enough to go fishing in the gulf from a lake boat or even a canoe. (I don't actually suggest that you try that for safety reasons. I'm just making a point about how close the grouper come to shore.) This year because of the closure nearshore gag grouper fishing isn't getting the attention it normally gets. But because fishing is something a lot of us can't live without, catch and release is our only option.

Pro tip: Try fishing in 40 to 45 feet of water to find an assortment of reds, gags and some flounder as well. If you can keep the gags from stealing your tackle, certainly you'll find a good number of larger grunts.

Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit

Captains corner: The trick is fishing around the off-limit gags 12/22/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 22, 2011 6:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Scotty Bowman says 'it's about time' Andreychuk got HOF call


    For Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman, Dave Andreychuk finally being part of a Hall of Fame class is especially gratifying.

    Scotty Bowman drafted Dave Andreychuk in the first round (16th overall) in 1982 and coached him the first five seasons of his career.
  2. Dave Andreychuk going into Hall of Fame (w/photo gallery)


    Dave Andreychuk said Monday began "business as usual."

    Dave Andreychuk battles Calgary's Andrew Ference during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.
  3. UPDATE: Rays finalizing deal to get SS Hechavarria for 2 minor-leaguers


    UPDATE, 4:27: In making the deal, the Rays add an elite-level defender to an infield that could use the help. But it also raises a number of questions, such as will they now move Tim Beckham to 2B? Does this mean Matt Duffy is not coming back this season? Is Daniel Robertson or Taylor Featherston going to …

    Adeiny Hechavarria is a two-time Gold Glove finalist who could help settle the Rays sometimes leaky infield defense.
  4. Timmy Claus is coming to town


    The circus is coming to town.

    Well, close enough.

    Timmy the Tebow is coming to Tampa Bay.

    It’s true. At least it could be. St. Timothy has been promoted by the New York Mets to high Class-A Port St. Lucie. If he stays promoted, Tebow should be in Tampa Bay for eight games beginning August 10 …

    Coming soon: Tim Tebow will hit Tampa Bay in August.
  5. Ranking Malik Zaire among 2017's top transfer quarterbacks


    The Florida Gators' Malik Zaire is among many transfers who could become starters at their new school. Here's how he stacks up in our rankings of top transfer quarterbacks: