© St. Petersburg Times, published December 24, 2002
The surprise catch Saturday came when one of my anglers thought he was hung up in the rocks again. The rod quickly was handed back to him with the exclamation, "No, you have a fish; here, reel!" After a surging battle, a 24-pound redfish surfaced. With a photograph and an explanation of slot-size regulations, the fish was released.
We were bottom-fishing in 40 feet of water out of Pass-a-Grille when the fish hit a dead bait intended for grouper. Immediately a live pinfish was nose-hooked and sent to the bottom. It was not long before a second redfish was scored weighing about 25 pounds. Two trophy fish, but still no meat for the dinner table.
Rough seas and muddy and cold water have made fishing difficult. The tail end of the full-moon phase added to the challenge of catching grouper last weekend as they typically don't feed aggressively during the day on a full moon. With all these adverse conditions, it is interesting that the huge redfish activity occurred on a major solunar period.
At our last stop Saturday, a third redfish was landed measuring 24 inches, within the 18- to 27-inch legal-size regulations. My party happily added it to its catch of black sea bass and gray snapper. It wasn't grouper, but the stories of giant redfish surely will be told at the table.
-- Capt. Brent Gaskill charters the Summer Vacation out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 343-1765 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.