For grouper, bottom fishing remains adequate in 70-foot depths, as long as red grouper are the main target. We have not had great success with gag grouper, especially compared to the past three July season openers. Next month should start to show an influx of gags as they begin to migrate closer to shore. Inshore, a few keeper grouper are available on shallower ledges. Normally, the rocks holding schools of juvenile bait fish are the magical ones. Mangrove snapper are also available on these rocks as they fatten up in preparation for their annual spawn. Spanish mackerel, sharks and few other pelagic are also present around juvenile bait schools. The best fishing with the most consistent catches for bottom fishing have come from 70 feet and deeper. Occasional mahi, kingfish, cobia and other pelagic species are available as well. Large schools of mature cigar minnows and Spanish sardines are luring them to us while bottom fishing. Many of the locations we anchor over already have a nice school of bait huddled to the bottom, making it easy to load the live well.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or visit jawstoo.com.