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Published Sep. 27, 2005

The first two weeks of May produced some of the finest gag and red grouper in several years, no matter in which direction we went. Water depth 80-90 feet held the largest concentrations. These depths are found about 20 miles offshore. Because of the clarity of the water we downsized our leaders from the usual 50-pound test to 40 and sometimes 30.

Cut-Spanish sardines and squid produced well, but the majority of the fish were caught on live bait with cigar minnows and live sardines caught on a gold-hook rig.

Next on the list of live baits were pinfish and small blue runners with their tails cut off to slow them. Using these methods we were able to catch our self-imposed limit of two fish per person rather than the five per person allowed by regulation.

_ Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.