Cooling waters: With daylight hours shorter, water temperatures are dropping, even with the heat. Once our first cool front hits, we'll see some dramatic changes. That's when a lot of migratory fish will be pushed our way. Expect the big Spanish mackerel, kings, cobia and gag groupers to be patrolling areas that were void only a few weeks ago.
Gag grouper: Already a few gag grouper are working their way into the shallower depths of 50 feet. There seem to be more keepers down there than many anglers think. I have been talking to experienced divers who have witnessed 20-plus keeper gags over certain ledges in 50 feet. They are skittish and hard to spear or get to bite a baited hook.
Time to investigate: After hearing this interesting report, we decided to give this once inactive depth another try. We started catching small gags about 16 to 18 inches long. After about 10 minutes, the grouper that were being brought up were about 20 inches. This action lasted about five minutes and then it all busted loose. My anglers were quickly dragged to the gunnels with giant gags. Half of the fish swam into their rocky homes. We ended up with three gags weighing up to 16 pounds. Within a couple of minutes, this furious bite was over.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, jawstoo.com or (727) 595-3276.