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Daily fishing report
By DAVE MISTRETTA
Published March 9, 2005
The past few days, good catches of gag grouper were taken from shallow depths. Their appetites have grown from two weeks ago, producing three trips in a row of at least 10 keepers. We worked depths within 60 feet with great success. The keeper-sized fish have averaged 10 pounds, and our biggest of the week weighed 16 pounds and was more than 30 inches. Key West grunts and short grouper have accompanied the many impressive fish, so bring lots of bait. Frozen sardines and live bait are getting their attention. What an improvement from a few weeks ago, when the fish were lethargic and disinterested in food.
Baitfish is abundant about a mile from shore. Massive schools of pinfish and grass grunts (pigfish) can be found simply by drifting across the sandy bottom. Small pieces of squid tipped to sabiki rigs will speed bait catching tenfold. Even a few early arriving bluerunners and threadfin herring ate our bait rigs as we fished.
If the fronts keep rolling in, the kingfish might not arrive until the last few days of March. This weather pattern has haunted us all winter. About every four years we get El Nino-type effects from the Pacific. The warmer air streaming across the gulf from the west drags a lot of cold fronts down that normally wouldn't have the punch to make it. This causes windy conditions through April and early May, which will make it a chore to get offshore.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call 727 595-3276, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org