tampabay.com

Daily fishing report

By MIKE WHITMAN
Published July 12, 2005


Because of Hurricane Dennis, Thursday was the last day we were able to fish. We found nice gag grouper much closer to the beach than we had before. Because of Red Tide and high water temperatures the past couple weeks, we have been fishing in 120 to 140 feet and finding mostly fire truck-red grouper, but because of the storm we found gag grouper in 85 feet. These fish were probably moving from their shallow-water haunts to the protection of deeper water in anticipation of the hurricane.

We should be able to start fishing offshore Wednesday, with slow fishing for the next several days. The water normally is dirty after such a large blow, which will scatter the bait, and will pick up a lot of debris. The debris can be anything from a small piece of wood to a palm tree, which though a hazard to navigation can be an angling bonanza with bait, mahi-mahi and wahoo hiding in and around it.

With tropical depression No.5 making its way west, now is the time to start fine-tuning your boat's hurricane preparation plan. Through November, keep extra lines on the poles at the slips to make tiedown easy. Pay close attention to bilge pumps and float switches to make sure everything is working. Also, make sure batteries are kept charged to keep those pumps and high-water alarms working.

--Mike Whitman charters the Mega-Bite out of Gulfport. Call 727 384-5729, view the Web site at www.megabitecharters.com or e-mail capt@megabitecharters.com