Cool fall water temperatures spur great things for Suncoast fishermen. King mackerel move in, cobia and Spanish mackerel migrations occur, bull redfish gather in the gulf, and there's an influx of bait. It's also the best time of the year for catching gag grouper close to shore. Just west of north Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties, gag grouper fishing has been very good. Productive depths vary but in some places you can find keeper-sized gags in less than 10 feet. The key to consistent success catching gags is always seeking and trying new areas. We seldom fish any spot more than once a season because it takes grouper a long time to build up on a spot. They don't move from one area to another very much, so if you beat a place up, it's not going to be good fishing there for quite a while. This is why "duds" are common. Pulling up on what seems to be a prime rock pile and not catching keepers might indicate you're not the first one who has been there lately. By avoiding crowded, popular areas you'll increase your landing percentage of keeper-sized fish.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at [email protected] .