By LARRY HOFFMAN
© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 11, 2001
Offshore fishing has been excellent. The warm, calm mornings have made long trips offshore enjoyable. This past week we fished three days, and each produced different fish. Early in the week we fished for amberjack over a shipwreck in 85 feet of water and were able to catch only a couple of in the 20-pound range. The barracudas were vicious. They ate just about every blue runner we presented to the amberjacks, and a few of amberjack were eaten.
A change in strategy was required. We moved to 95-foot depth and fished for mangrove snapper and grouper. Some 4-pound mangos and a couple of grouper were caught over a 4-foot ledge when a school of blackfin tuna showed up. Fantastic! We also were able to catch a few tuna. Later in the week we were getting our bait at the Egmont Channel buoy markers when we had breakoffs on our subiki rigs. Mike Hubbard fixed the problem by free-lining a live Spanish sardine on a No. 4 Mustad hook. Immediately a nice cobia took the sardine, and after a 10-minute fight, we boated a 35-inch cobia. We caught four more before a storm moved us farther offshore.
Our grouper fishing was not very successful because the full moon had slowed the bite, but we had a field day catching reef sharks. The sharks were 10 to 15 pounds, ate every bait presented and kept us busy changing tackle. We released them.
- Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call (727) 709-9396.