tampabay.com

Daily fishing report

By LARRY HOFFMAN
Published September 13, 2005


In the past by early September, we could sneak 4 or 5 miles offshore and get a few gag grouper for dinner. Red Tide, however, has claimed another victim: the nearshore keeper gags. To get keeper fish, your best bet is to move to 90 feet of water and deeper.

One of our favorite options when going offshore this time of year is to work springs known to hold up to eight species in one location. The downside is that you need lots of different tackle sizes to take advantage of all a freshwater spring has to offer.

Springs are holding amberjack in the 30-pound range, yellowtail, vermillion, lane and mangrove snapper and red and gag grouper. Live bait works best on the jacks, and the bigger the bait, the bigger the catch. Small pieces of shrimp and cut-up frozen sardines work best on snappers, and live pinfish and whole Spanish sardines work best on groupers.

A flat line deployed with live Spanish sardines will produce blackfin tuna, kingfish and barracudas this time of year. Lots of times during the day, "chicken" dolphin will show up, and small white or yellow jigs tipped with squid will keep things hopping.

For the blue water purist, September is the last chance to get offshore with good weather before the fall cold fronts return to our coast.

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