Offshore wrecks and springs provide great action this time of year. Most springs hold amberjack, mangrove and yellowtail snapper and grouper. Shipwrecks also hold jacks, barracuda, snappers, sharks, black and red grouper and Goliath fish. To take advantage, fishermen should bring large and small live bait and a combination of light and heavy tackle.
Working a spring in 130 feet last week produced amberjack up to 30 pounds plus mangrove and yellowtail snapper. Using 50-pound class tackle and fighting belts, we caught all the jacks we wanted using live blue runners as bait. We used cut bait for the yellowtail snapper and live pilchards on 20-pound class tackle for mangos.
If you have trouble getting live bait past the jacks to the bottom dwellers, chum live pilchards on the surface, then "fire" down a live bait. The chumming causes a feeding frenzy that lets the snapper offering get to the bottom.
On wrecks, barracuda will cut off your amberjack and grouper while you are fighting them to the surface. Use light tackle with steel leaders and a live, big blue runner to catch a few barracuda and dissuade them from feeding.
Wrecks in 140 feet are good places for tuna. During strong tides cut frozen sardines into 1-inch chunks and chum every 30 seconds. Chumwhile fighting tuna to keep them in the area.
_ Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call (727) 709-9396.