Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Outdoors

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.

Comments
Captainís Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

Captainís Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

As water temperatures continue to climb, more and more permit are showing up on wrecks and ledges off the Suncoast area. These highly prized members of the jack family appear every spring and gather into large aggregations for spawning. Most of this ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Captainís Corner: Time nears for snook, tarpon out at the beaches

With summerlike air temperatures coming in the next couple of weeks, snook will be moving out to the beaches and tarpon will start cruising there. Itís my favorite time of year to fish. With snook on the beaches and passes, you would think their biol...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18

Captainís Corner: Variables are all that is constant when it comes to art of fishing

The unique variables and ever-changing conditions of fishing are what set it apart from most other sports. Basketball goals donít move, baseball diamonds are basically the same and tennis courts never change. Fishing, on the other hand, is constantly...
Published: 04/21/18

Captainís Corner: King mackerel the hot topic as gulf waters warm

King mackerel is always the hot topic this time of year, with tournaments every weekend for two months. Some believe that massive schools in the gulf migrate from their fall haunts in south Florida and the Keys to the north, with the larger females (...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

After significant winds from a front last week, things are calming down and fish are turning on again. Bait has gotten predictable and easier to chum on the flats after moving to deeper water during the front. Iíve been targeting trout at first light...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/19/18

Captainís Corner: Rush of warmer water in gulf heats up fishing on offshore reefs, wrecks

The rush of warmer water on our offshore reefs and wrecks in the Gulf of Mexico has brought with it a cadre of pelagic fish. Divers and anglers have enjoyed the influx of cobia, kingfish and more. The benthic (bottom) fish are splurging on the balls ...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Captainís Corner: Spring bite is solid despite wacky weather

Bipolar weather continues to confuse both fish and anglers. Fortunately the water temperature has gotten high enough that the effects donít last long and the spring bite continues to be solid. Snook are still the hot bite in many areas around the bay...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Captainís Corner: Kingfish, sharks provide aerial displays

Fishing was good this past Saturday, ahead of the cold front. We fished close to shore about 2 miles. Our approach was simple. We anchored the boat, fished with live baits and chummed heavily. Kingfish action was nonstop for the entire morning. We ca...
Published: 04/16/18

Captainís Corner: Trolling or anchoring up, kingfish bite is hot

Are you looking for line-screaming action? Head offshore. The kingfish bite has been good, though high winds may require a wait for the water to clear. The best numbers have been about 5 miles out on the hard bottom. Trolling for kingfish works well;...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/15/18

Captainís Corner: Spring run is the most wonderful time of the year

The full spring run of all species in our area is in full swing. Whatever species you would like to target, inshore or offshore, is as good as it gets this time of year. Redfish schools have shown up in the flats around Pinellas Point, but they are i...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18