The first thing anglers want after the purchase of a Global Position System receiver is numbers, which translate into locations. Anglers don't need someone's private hot spot, just a place with some structure that might hold grouper, kingfish, Spanish mackerel and snapper.
Florida's artificial reef program is the place to start. Visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Web site at www.marinefisheries.org click on saltwater fishing, then artificial reefs and choose the area you wish to fish. By choosing Pinellas County, I received 13 pages of GPS numbers for reefs deployed from 1974 to 2003. These are the exact areas in which fish attractors, culverts, rocks and bridge rubble were dumped. The areas where buoys used to be are heavily fished. But the areas away from buoys are known to fewer anglers and sometimes produce fantastic action.
During the kingfish run, look for bait schools, Spanish mackerel and kings to hang around these spots. After a period of foul weather, grouper move into the large structure identified by these numbers. The best way to target these areas is to enter each number for a particular reef and use them to troll over each piece of structure. After catching a fish, return to that spot and anchor slightly upcurrent. Deploy a chum bag, a flat line and a few bottom rods. Don't be surprised if one of these numbers becomes a favorite fishing spot.
- Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 347-1389.