What’s Hot- There is a very steady Grouper bite in just about all depths right now. In the past couple
of weeks we have caught Gag Grouper in depths ranging from 32 feet to 475 feet of water. Live bait has been the key to success
and will continue to do so as long as the water temperatures stay above 70 degrees. Concentrate on ledges and roll-offs, and
try to get the boat settled right over the fish show that will usually be on the bottom side of the relief.
Grouper are in somewhat of a strange pattern this year. There have been good numbers of legal sized fish in depths of 30-45
feet for the past few months. Typically these fish will not venture into these depths until the hight of the fall season,
when water temperatures are in the mid to lower 60’s. The strange thing is there are very few legal Reds from 50-80
feet of water, but once past that the bite is solid until you get to about 240 feet or so.
Tackle- Many old salty anglers prefer the old 4/0 sized reel with heavy monofilament line as their “go
to” set-up for targeting Grouper. But just like everything else, times and tools will and do change. Many
anglers have made the transition over to braided line because of the ability for the anglers to feel the bite so much better.
The second reason is braid has virtually no stretch unlike mono which is generally about 10%, which is an advantage especially
in deep water. The major dilemma is the connection to the leader. You should not tie the braid directly to your swivel
or hook, as the sliding of the lead will eventually wear through the braid and there are not many strong knots for this application.
Anglers will rig up with a “Top-shot” of mono, which should be a 20 ft section of mono connected to the end of
the braid. The end of this mono is where your terminal tackle should be rigged. There are many knots you could
use for this connection, and everyone has their own that has never let them down. With a little testing you will find
the right one for you, but make sure, because this is an area that a very large portion on anglers suffer, because if not
done properly the braid will cut itself and many fish will be lost as a result.
Fintastic Fishing Charters
727-642-3411Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 or www.fintasticinc.com.