Daily fishing report

Published February 1, 2005

Wind conditions slowed last week then the fog rolled in. One of the most dangerous conditions to travel in on the Gulf of Mexico is heavy fog. People can get disoriented and should slow their boat speed to a crawl to be safe. Radars work well in fog and make a fishing trip safer. My best advice: blow a whistle repeatedly while traveling or anchored to let other boaters know you are in the area. Stay away from the entrance to Egmont channel. Even though the big ships have radar, your boat may not appear on their radar screen and they may not have time to steer clear of you.

We waited until the fog lifted on Thursday and Friday then fished an area 40 miles southwest of Egmont channel. The water temperature was a few degrees warmer but the bottom fishing was slow. We fished hard to get a few keeper gag grouper and mangrove snappers. Anglers had half a dozen fish cut their lines off on the rocky bottom. We fished for amberjacks on both days but were unsuccessful. The amberjacks were schooled on the surface feeding on small-fry and they would not take any live bait offerings or article lures tossed at them.

The winds should move around to the east midweek, providing three or four days for area fisherman to get offshore. The tides can be strong this time of year, so use enough weight to keep your fishing lines in the vertical position, improving your hookups. Grouper and snapper feed best this time of year using dead bait. Frozen sardines and squid are the bait of choice but an occasional live bait will induce a huge grouper to feed.

--Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call 727 709-9396 or e-mail him at huffyl@tampabay.rr.com