The deeper the betterBy LARRY HOFFMAN
© St. Petersburg Times,
Fishing this week has been slow. Working 90 feet of water, we were able to produce only a couple of keepers in six hours. The best bite occurred when the tide picked up in 65 feet. Our biggest fish hit live pinfish. The Spanish mackerel and small bonito were feeding most of the day on class minnows.
On Wednesday, we tried fishing in 20 to 35 feet. The fish were chewing early, however keepers were hard to come by. You can expect the grouper to make their annual migration to near-shore hard bottom areas.
My biggest concern is Red Tide. If you run across it travel at least a couple of miles outside it before you bottom fish. If you are carrying live bait and travel through Red Tide chances are your bait will be dead so be prepared to catch bait offshore.
Capt. Sam Masano and son Joey, fishing in 150 feet, caught a limit of red grouper. They were using frozen sardines and live bait. According to Masan, however, the bait didn't matter as they caught red grouper up to 25 pounds, the smallest more than 10 pounds.
Hubbard's Marina in Madeira Beach reports the charter boat Friendly Fisherman has had great catches of gag grouper, amberjack and mangrove snapper on all day trips. The head boat does a 10-hour trip. This is a good time to give offshore fishing a try as the boat is not crowded and fishing is excellent.
Chet Prikryl reports from the Redington Pier that the fishermen are catching flounder, Spanish mackerel and big red drum. He also reported there was some Red Tide along the beach.
The water temperature on Wednesday was 79.9 degrees in 35 feet. To me that indicates when all the baitfish pods and the Spanish mackerel are here in full force the kingfish will start arriving, probably in the next couple of weeks.
-- Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call (727) 709-9396.
(All phone numbers begin with 727 unless noted)
THIS MONTH: Snook tournament, Hurricane Pass Anglers Club, Ozona, 785-3018.
TODAY-SATURTDAY: 17th anniversary of the Coastal Conservation Association of Florida's Photo All-Release Challenge Tournament, Bahia Beach Island Resort and Marina, Ruskin, (813) 238-2220.
SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Bill Jackson's, 576-4169.
SATURDAY: Fly-casting, World Class Outfitters, (813) 968-3736.
SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Saltwater Fly Fisherman, Clearwater, 443-5000.
TONIGHT: USF Sail Club meeting, Bayboro Campus, 821-4840.
SATURDAY: Safe-boating course, Clearwater, 462-6368.
SATURDAY: Free kayak demo, Sweetwater Kayaks, Tierra Verde, 906-0708.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY: Kickoff Invitational, Bradenton Yacht Club, WFPHRF boat of the year event, (941) 748-7930.
DAILY: Boyd Hill Nature Park tram tour, 893-7326.
SATURDAY: Guided hike, Brooker Creek Preserve; 943-4003.
SATURDAY: Weedon Island Preserve guided walk, 3 miles, reservations required, 217-7208.
SATURDAY: Sea critters education course, Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, (941) 388-4441.
SATURDAY: Fall warbler walk with Lake Region Audubon guide, Saddle Creek Park, Lakeland, Hernando Audubon Society, (352) 754-9436.
SATURDAY: Fall butterfly workshop with Marc Minno, Chinsegut Nature Center, Brooksville, (352) 754-6722.
SATURDAY: Clearwater Audubon Society field trip, Click Ponds, Brevard County, 712-1770.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY: Overnight backpack trip, Ocala National Forest, 12 miles, 539-0882.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY: Trail maintenance, Withlacoochee Hiking Trail, Withlacoochie State Forest, Florida Trail Association, (352) 746-5124.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY: Florida native plant sale, Wilcox Nursery, Largo, 595-2073.
-- See Sunday's Outdoors for a list of next week's events. Send information to Outdoors, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. All items must be typed and arrive 10 days before the event. Include event name, time, address and phone number.
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