By DAN BROOKS
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 25, 2001
Capts. Kirk Stanley and Larry Gallen from St. Petersburg, aboard the Sass Sea, took advantage of two decent days between cold fronts last week and headed two hours southwest of Pass-a-Grille to 150-foot depths in the Wing Area. They figured fair sea conditions and water clarity would be key to their success. Above the structure, the group used a variety of frozen, cut baits, including sardines, shad and squid. They used 40-pound test tackle and fluorocarbon leader, and were rewarded with a banner catch of mango snapper and one large red snapper.
After all the snapper action, they switched to 60-pound test tackle and used live pinfish for bait. It proved difficult to get smaller, live baits to the bottom before they were devoured by banded rudderfish. Additional weight and bigger live baits fished deeper and close to the structure paid off quickly, and everyone hooked up with 25- to 30-pound amberjack. The bite stayed on until mid-afternoon and the anglers filled several coolers with fresh fish. Not a bad day for this time of year!
The banded rudderfish and lesser amberjack look very similar. The rudderfish has white tips on its tail and the lesser amberjack does not. The aggregate bag limit of these fish is 5 fish a day per person.
- Dan Brooks charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 867-7856 or e-mail email@example.com.