Rough seas, high winds and dirty water made offshore fishing impossible. After sitting in port, checking tackle and attending to detail on the boats, I thought about my target when the winds died down.
The Indian Shores artificial reef would be first. The 45- to 50-foot depths should clear before areas closer to shore. While I normally do not bottom fish for grouper and snapper on artificials, the high-profile structure should have provided some protection from the surging seas produced by Hurricane Ivan.
A yellow buoy marks the center of the new \-mile reef. The Pinellas County artificial reef program built a high-profile concrete structure to the northwest of the buoy. Some of these piles of culvert, concrete light poles and bridge pilings rise 20 feet from the bottom and provide plenty of holes for grouper and mangrove snapper to await baitfish.
Northwest of the piles of concrete is the 240-foot salt hopper barge placed on the reef in 1984. It is home to goliath and gag grouper. They favor the area south of the barge that has worked its way into the bottom, creating a cave.
The old reef, which was 1 mile long and about 300 yards wide, encompasses the new. Two World War II LSMs were filled with cable and sunk. They are beginning to break up, and it will be interesting to see how the hurricane affected them.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach and can be reached at (727) 397-8815 or by e-mail at Luckytoo2aol.com.