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Captain's Corner

What's biting: Fishing offshore for both bottom and pelagic fish has been as hot as the weather.

By DAVE ZALEWSKI
Published July 19, 2007


What's biting: Fishing offshore for both bottom and pelagic fish has been as hot as the weather. Each trip offshore to the flat Swiss cheeselike, hard-bottom areas in the 80- to 90-foot depths has produced a varied bag of red grouper, porgy and large white grunt. Mixed in with them are a surprising number of red snapper in the 14- to 15-inch range, just below the minimum 16-inch limit. The ledges in the same depths are harboring gag grouper, mangrove snapper, grunt and triggerfish. Kingfish in the past years were almost an unheard of target in July, but we have been catching them on a regular basis by deploying stinger-rigged flat lines with live Spanish sardines or hardtails caught on site with sabikis or frozen sardines, which sink farther into the water column.

Tip: We use a 4-ounce sinker on our sabiki rigs to keep multiple larger baits from twisting the rigs up. Use of the heavier weights prevents tangling on the way down in deeper waters. Large sabiki rigs (Nos. 16-18) are carried by many of the local tackle stores or can be special ordered. These are fished with a 3- to 4-ounce sinker on the bottom and have been effective for trigger fish, snapper and red grouper, especially when tipped with a small piece of squid.