Grouper fishing has been the most consistent in depths of 90-120 feet of water. Concentrate on the edges of hard bottom and potholes for red grouper in the 8- to 15-pound range. Live and frozen baits are producing about the same, though most of the larger fish have been attacking the bigger live baits. Since the water temperature is still quite warm the gag grouper action will continue to be a little slower. But if you concentrate your efforts on ledges and rock piles in these depths and have a well full of frisky live baits, you should be able to get a few gags to cooperate. Your best bet will be in depths of 200 feet or more, as the water temps in these depths are a bit more consistent and do not vary as much as the inshore waters. This year’s hurricane season is looking to be quite active. This is a perfect opportunity for what I call storm fishing. This technique works well right after a large storm moves through the Gulf of Mexico, and can be used during fall right after a cold front has moved through. When these storms are approaching the area grouper and snapper will search out areas with large relief. These areas will provide food and shelter from the swift moving water these systems usually cause. Areas such as wrecks and large ledges are prime spots to try this style of fishing. Getting offshore before the waters calm and the fish move from the structure is the key.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.