Daily fishing report
By DAVE MISTRETTA
Published January 19, 2006
We have had to plan our trips between cold fronts. Strong winds and high seas make it difficult to set a date too far ahead of unpredictable weather.
When bad weather subsides, I suggest traveling at least 40 miles into the gulf. Snapper and grouper have been cooperative in at least 110 feet, and you can find plenty of bait at that depth.
Large schools of pinfish have been loitering at 105 feet. A gold-hook rig sent to the bottom tipped with small chunks of squid works well. Adjust your sonar so you can pick up the bait spikes while traveling at high speeds. It is hit or miss until they have been located, but after you find them they will stay for weeks at the same location.
One of my recent reports raised a lot of questions on the limit for amberjack. Let me try to clarify. You are allowed one amberjack that is at least 28 inches from its head to the fork of the tail. You are allowed five jacks total per person. This includes only one amberjack.
There are many other types of jacks in the gulf: banded rudderfish, lesser amberjack, bar jacks, etc. These other jacks that can fill the five-per-person limit. They can be 14 to 22 inches to the fork of the tail. It is extremely difficult to determine types of jacks, especially when they are small. Use your best judgment and read literature on our different species to determine what type of jacks you are catching.
There is a lot of confusion among anglers about jacks. Try to use your best judgment, and if in doubt, release the unidentified fish.