What's hot: Bottom fishing offshore this time of year takes more planning. The water temperature is climbing and the grouper will be getting into a slower feed. Grouper and snapper will be most active early in the morning until early afternoon, then the bite usually slows until the late afternoon when they feed heavily again until dark. The use of live bait is imperative this time of year.
Tactics: Locating these fish is more difficult this time of year, because without the wind that storms and fronts bring, these fish tend to spread out on the hard-bottom areas in search of food. Sometimes an area is covered with grouper and snapper and loaded with bait. Then that area is a desert on the next visit, because when not holding on structure, these fish follow the bait schools wherever they move. Sometimes this happens over a vast area of sand where you would think there is no chance for a grouper. Scattered areas in the shallower water have yielded red and gag grouper. Because of bait schools in 60 to 90 foot depths this season, there have been fish there. Afternoon thunderstorms can be a surprise. Tune in the weather and watch the sky.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 or fintasticinc.com.