High winds blow weekend offshore grouper angling off course

Angler's Depot, (727) 938-5364: Brown says a lot of disappointed anglers were thwarted by high winds over the holiday weekend. Offshore anglers looking to get offshore to take advantage of the gag grouper season were forced to wait out the weather, so just how good the bite will be remains a mystery. Anglers are reporting some nice snook and trout in the surf on the barrier islands. There are signs that some of the big female snook are finished with their spawning duties and moving off the beaches to the inshore backwaters, and creek and river mouths.

Tarpon Fishing Outfitters, (727) 942-8944: Capt. David says inshore, anglers have been taking some big snook on the barrier island beaches, bringing some pictures into the shop that show off trophy-sized fish. Live sardines have been working well. Trout are scattered on the grass flats, and although it may take some time to locate bigger fish, it's worthwhile. Redfish are where you find them now, with the action rated only fair. One angler fishing the Cotee River with live shrimp reported landing 22 sheepshead. Offshore, high winds kept grouper diggers off the water and unable to sample the gag action with the July opening of the season. Weather permitting, this weekend should provide the opportunity to assess the action.

One Stop Bait and Tackle, (727) 842-5610: Joe says he got out to do a little fishing himself, getting into reds while fishing the creeks in Werner-Boyce State Park, in the Port Richey area. He says a lot of the fish were small, but the action was good. Snook remain on the beaches, the sand bar north of Anclote Key and Three Rooker Bar to the south. Trout anglers are reporting some good action and big fish on the grass flats up and down the coast. Sharks seem to be everywhere, with lots of small blacktips and bonnetheads being reported. Offhore, the holiday weekend was a blowout for most, who opted to avoid the rain and high winds and wait for better conditions.

Pier 60, (727) 462-6466: Kelli says anglers are taking a mixed bag at the pier on Clearwater Beach. Mackerel are schooling at times, with fair numbers of fish being landed during the day. The night fishing for trout has been good, with live shrimp under the lights getting the job done. Some flounder are being taken by those fishing the sandy bottom, and sea bass have been around in fair numbers. Cobia are around the pier pilings.

The Long Pier, (727) 391-9398: Gary says anglers are taking some trout in the mornings and at night. The usual tactic is to free-line or float live shrimp or sardines under the lights at the pier at Redington Shores. Some flounder are being landed, and the tarpon remain around the pier, with an 80-pound fish landed on live bait Monday morning.

Nick Stubbs is founder and webmaster of Bitetracker.com, an interactive fishing website.