Captain's Corner

By DAVE MISTRETTA, Times Correspondent
Published January 17, 2008

Great fishing: Grouper fishing has been awesome the past three months despite the cold weather. Catches have been consistent since September, thanks to the absence of Red Tide.

Recent action: Last week, red grouper, gag grouper, some legal scamp grouper, grunts and triggerfish were common catches in 50-80 feet. Dead and live bait produced action. It sometimes took five minutes on a spot before a few small fish would start to bite, then a few bigger ones, eventually developing into a feeding frenzy of all sizes for a minute or two. That's when the keeper grouper would make the mistake of joining in. Biggest gag grouper this week came from 54 feet, weighed 19 pounds and was hooked about eight minutes into the frenzy.

Expectations: Spring should have giant migrations of pelagic fish, accompanied by the bottom dwellers. This will be one of the seasons when rare species come close to our shoreline. Sailfish, wahoo, dolphin and large schools of cobia should be in the parade of pelagic fish. Bottom fishing should yield banner numbers of red snapper in shallower depths, plus a few true black grouper and scamp.

Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach and can be reached at jawstoo@msn.com jawstoo.com or 727 595-3276.