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Daily fishing report
By LARRY HOFFMAN
Published February 7, 2006
Offshore fishing continues to be excellent. The challenge this time of year is weather.
This week does not look good to get offshore. The forecast is for plenty of sun, so the wind is the determining factor. Customers always want to push the weather envelope, but it is no fun trying to fish in 4- and 5-foot seas. Bait is hard to keep on the bottom as your transom bounces.
Plan trips around the cold fronts and when 10-knot winds or less out of the east are forecast. Your best bet is in 85 feet and deeper over ledges and hard bottom. Springs and wrecks are holding good numbers of amberjack and mangrove snapper. Start your bottom fishing using dead bait, frozen sardines and squid.
Winter fishing requires some patience. Smaller fish will feed first. The bigger fish usually move in after 15 minutes. When they do, they push the smaller fish away from your bait. You may think the bite is over as the feeding slows. That is the time to put out a couple of big live bait, such as pinfish or grass grunts, to get the bigger grouper to feed.
Lighter tackle will produce more strikes, but 50-pound tackle should work for bottom fishing this time of year. If you are not getting any bites, downsize your tackle to 30 pounds. A few blackfin tuna and bonitas are being caught in 110 feet and deeper. A live bait fished off the transom on a float can increase your catch.
--Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call 727 709-9396 or e-mail him at email@example.com