tampabay.com

Daily fishing report

By LARRY HOFFMAN
Published October 5, 2006


We bottom-fished in 85 to 95 feet of water and also in 120 feet this week with excellent results. The red and gag grouper are slowly moving toward shore, and their appetites have picked up. Our biggest challenge has been trying to catch gags and mangrove snappers after you have your limit of one red grouper.

Our most important tool has been a venting needle to release the gas from the red groupers. When fish are reeled up from 90-foot depths and deeper, their bladders expand and must be vented to allow them to get back to the bottom. Live bait is still a must for gags. The red grouper readily take dead bait, but the gags have preferred live sardines and pinfish. Mangrove snapper are feeding on both dead baits and small live baits. Double 5/0 hook rigs fished with 30-pound leaders works for us.

Kingfish season kicks off this month; bait pods are already showing up in 60 to 70 feet of water, and a few kingfish have been seen skyrocketing through the bait schools. Look for the kings to show up shortly, perhaps as early as next week.

Blue-water fishing for tuna, wahoo and dolphin is excellent off our coast. The Elbow is a good bet if you want to get some trolling in before the fall fronts take over our coast.

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