tampabay.com

Captain's Corner

What's hot: With the water temperatures climbing into the high 70s and low 80s, the migration of kingfish to the north is coming to an end, and grouper and snapper fishing offshore will be taking center stage once again. During the next couple of months the fish that have inhabited our nearshore waters will start making their way back offshore to depths of 80 feet or more in search of cooler temperatures. During this short relocation, grouper fishing may become very sporadic from spot to spot.

By STEVE PAPEN
Published May 23, 2007


What's hot: With the water temperatures climbing into the high 70s and low 80s, the migration of kingfish to the north is coming to an end, and grouper and snapper fishing offshore will be taking center stage once again. During the next couple of months the fish that have inhabited our nearshore waters will start making their way back offshore to depths of 80 feet or more in search of cooler temperatures. During this short relocation, grouper fishing may become very sporadic from spot to spot.

Tips: Locating these migrating fish will require an east to west search of the bottom off our coast. Once fish are located, work the edges of the hard bottom and ledges for consistent action. If on the next trip there the area seems devoid of life, a move to the west or southwest will help relocate the fish.

Tactics: A high-quality bottom machine is one of the keys in finding grouper and snapper. Next is the knowledge to set up the machine so it will read properly. Ranges should be set as low as possible and the gain should be tuned up so the fish can be seen. A zoom feature will help define the characteristics of the bottom, crucial in determining what type of structure you are fishing. When searching for these bottom fish, the automatic functions on the machine should be shut down and the manual features tuned to get the machine to read as accurately as possible.