Drift fishing: Consistent catches of red grouper and kingfish are available for anglers working depths of 80 to 90 feet of water. Drift fishing seems to be the most productive, especially when winds are light. We start our drift wherever the bottom machine shows flat limestone bottom. West of our coastline, you'll find numerous troughs of limestone that run for 1/8 of a mile or more. Along the edge of the sand and the limestone is where the big red grouper wait to ambush baitfish.
Blending in: The sandy bottom is a safe, camouflaged area for many baitfish. Sardines, squirrelfish, pinfish and cigar minnows are often found here. To blend in, they lighten their coloring, becoming hardly noticeable until they swim over the darker rocks. By the time they darken their color it's often too late. Every predator in the vicinity is watching. The baitfish venture onto the rocky bottom to look for food. Of course, the big red grouper know this and wait along the edges of the different bottoms ready to grab an easy meal.
Tips: On many occasions we will have a school of bait under the boat. A long cast from the back of the boat, away from the concentrated baitfish, often produces the biggest grouper of the day. They are watching everything from a distance, ready to ambush stray baitfish.
All this commotion is attracting numerous pelagic fish under the boat, too. Drop a free-lined sardine behind the boat. We caught some mahi-mahi (dolphin fish) and two big kings.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or see www.jawstoo.com.