tampabay.com

Daily fishing report

By STEVE PAPEN
Published September 24, 2006


Fishing for mangrove snapper is excellent at 80 to 130 feet deep. Larger structures hold large schools of snapper, whose feeding habits are crafty. They are skittish and usually shy away from the heavy leaders and large hooks we often use offshore. The key is to downsize tackle to the point they have a good chance to get away.

Concentrate on ledges and wrecks that are fished the least, and anchor over those spots to ensure the best bite.

Grouper have started to push for more shallow water, with many caught at 70 to 90 feet. Until the water temperature reaches the low 80s, the minimum depth to target grouper should be 70 feet.

Live bait has been the key to the best bites. But with Red Tide in the area, we have had to catch most of our bait offshore. Look for bait at local wrecks in at least 40 feet.

For those willing to go out at least 50 miles, the grouper have been biting much better in deeper water. Depths of 150 to 175 feet have produced great catches of red snapper, scamp and gag and red grouper. These fish work the edges of the hard bottom, feeding on sardines.

King mackerel have been in deeper water all summer. Wrecks in about 100 to 180 feet of water will be holding these fish for a while as long as the bait stays around.

Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 or at fintasticinc.com.