What's hot: If you are looking to get that grouper dinner this holiday, put a little extra fuel in the boat before you head offshore. With the ever-so-close gag grouper being closed right now, our attention has switched to red grouper and the tasty scamp grouper.
Tips: While there are still a few pockets of fish in shallower waters, the main concentration of legal fish are in 100 feet or deeper for a few more cold fronts. Look for hardbottom areas with smaller roll-offs and a show of fish right on the bottom edge of the roll. These fish have been falling for anything from live baits, frozen baits and even some large jigs.
What else? Snapper fishing has been outstanding in all depths, especially 90-160 feet. Look at some of the higher-profile spots such as wrecks or larger ledges for these fish. Tackle can be on the lighter side with a 20-pound leader and as little as a quarter-ounce of lead. A steady stream of chum in the water keeps these fish under the boat for hours.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.