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Captain's corner

By LARRY HOFFMAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 29, 2001


Fishing over shipwrecks and freshwater springs this time of year offers a smorgasbord of species. We fished for two days south of Egmont Shipping Channel this week and found permit, amberjack, kingfish and grouper on one freshwater spring.

Freshwater spring fishing in the Gulf of Mexico requires multiple types of tackle so you can take advantage of the different fish. We anchored near the spring and fished amberjack using 60-pound class tackle. We used a flatline with 20-pound test for the kingfish. The amberjack -- some up 45 pounds -- attacked blue runners, as did the kingfish. The permit were interested only in live shrimp and small "pass crab" free-lined on 15-pound test. The 20- to 25-pound permit were a real challenge to get into the boat on light tackle.

A strategy we employ when fishing multiple species is to have each angler target a different fish. If one angler is getting all the action, we switch to the hot bite. It's not unusual to have a permit, amberjack and kingfish hooked at the same time. The gulf coast weather looks like typical spring kingfish weather this weekend: cold and windy. The Betty Rose, Rube Allen, Indian Shore Reef and the Sheridan have been holding kingfish and bait. Grouper fishing has been excellent over ledges and small hard-bottom areas in 50 to 70 feet of water.

-- Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters the Enterprise out of Kingfish Wharf, Treasure Island. Call (727) 709-9396.

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