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Captain's Corner

Captain's Corner: Time to target amberjack, red grouper, triggerfish

On Jan. 1 amberjack opened here in the gulf with a 30-inch minimum size limit, but as of Monday the size limit increased to 34 inches and the bag limit will remain at one fish per person. Look for them on high-relief structures such as wrecks, big ledges and springs in depths of at least 90 feet of water. Although live baits are typically the stand-by approach to catching these fish, over the years many anglers have switched over to the artificial presentations. Large buck-tails, vertical jigs, and large top water plugs can produce ferocious bites from these overly aggressive amberjack. In another opening, red grouper fishing has been very good in depths as shallow as 30 feet of water. These fish have been for foraging in flat hard-bottom areas for months now but frontal boundaries will have these fish stacking up on larger pieces of bottom until the winds and waves subside. The key is finding the fish. Being able to determine between a school of vermillion snapper and a pile of hungry red grouper on your particular bottom machine is usually the difference between coming home with a couple of fish or coming home with a full fish box. Since location is key, bait preference, at least for the next couple of months, will rarely make a difference. Also, triggerfish returned on Jan. 1. They are usually a by-catch when fishing for hogfish in the bay area. Generally during winter these strange critters make their way into the 40- to 60-foot depths in our area. Very aggressive in nature, they will usually track your bait as it's falling to the bottom and pounce on it as soon as it stops. The TAC (total allowable catch) on these fish is quite small so check regulations often as they can close with very short notice.

Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.

Tide adjustments

The charts show the rise and fall of tides measured in feet and plots the tides on a one-week timeline. Times and depth may vary depending on weather conditions. You can compute the tides from these adjustments:

North (Anclote River) High Low

Anclote Key (south end) -01:37 -00:47

Bayport +01:13 +01:39

Cedar Key +01:16 +01:03

Crystal River, Florida Power +01:13 +01:33

Hudson, Hudson Creek +00:06 +00:01

Indian Rocks Beach (inside) +00:19 +00:10

North (Anclote River) High Low

Mangrove Point, Crystal Bay +01:34 +01:54

Pithlachascotee River +00:18 +00:52

St. Joseph Sound -00:34 -00:42

Steinhatchee River entrance +01:33 +01:32

Suwannee River entrance +01:22 +01:21

Withlacoochee River entrance +01:23 +01:58

South (The Pier) High Low

Anna Maria, pier -02:10 -02:19

Egmont Key, Egmont channel -02:15 -03:20

Gandy Bridge +00:59 +00:57

Gulfport, Boca Ciega Bay -01:32 -01:05

John's Pass, Boca Ciega Bay -02:14 -02:04

Madeira Beach Causeway -01:32 -01:45

Mullet Key Channel (Skyway) -02:03 -02:01

South (The Pier) High Low

Pass-a-Grille Beach -01:34 -01:30

Pinellas Point -00:22 -00:29

Redfish Point, Manatee River -00:30 -00:14

Safety Harbor +01:32 +01:34

Sarasota Bay -01:38 -00:58

Corey Causeway -01:18 -00:44

Venice Inlet (inside) -02:02 -01:38

Captain's Corner: Time to target amberjack, red grouper, triggerfish 01/04/16 [Last modified: Monday, January 4, 2016 5:51pm]
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