Offshore fishing appears to be hit and miss, with very few grouper being caught because of Hurricane Ivan and the breakup of schools that normally hang out in 100 feet to 130 feet of water. Sam Masonio and his son Joey fished for grouper Sunday in 100-130 feet and caught only a few shorts. Sam reports there were few fish showing on his fish finder and the water was still murky. With little success on the grouper, he switched to amberjacks over a freshwater spring. Their day improved, with good numbers of jacks taking bait and one 20-pound African pompano hitting a jig. They were using live bait and jigs to attract the jacks. Their largest amberjack weighed 54 pounds. Sam also reported they saw no bait schools that normally form offshore this time of year.
Concentrate your fishing at big ledges and shipwrecks that give fish areas to hide and get relief from strong tides and heavy wave action. Van Hubbard worked 60 feet of water on some nice breaks and got a limit of gags and a few keeper red grouper. He reports the bite was best in the morning near the tide change. With all the bad weather, there has been little pressure on the fishing stocks. This week the fishing should improve each day, and this coming weekend should be red hot for offshore action.
Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call (727) 709-9396 or e-mail him at huffyltampabay.rr.com.