The Fishin' Report: Offshore gag grouper action has been a good bet
For anglers who don't mind tossing back the occasional undersized fish, the gag grouper action has been good offshore in less than 30 feet of water. FRANK SARGEANT
BY NICK STUBBS Suncoast News correspondent
Published: August 20, 2013
Updated: August 20, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Anclote Bait and Tackle, (727) 945-1808: Capt. Griff says offshore anglers have been having their way with the gag grouper in as little as 28 feet of water. Though there are short fish to weed out, keepers have been a pretty good bet between that depth and about 50 feet. Inshore, the trout have been around the islands, including Three Rooker Bar, where Griff and anglers landed 8 fish between 20 and 24 inches on live sardines. He recommends a No. 1 hook. Angler's Depot, (727) 938-5364: Brown says the reds have been hanging with the schools of mullet, taking live pinfish and cut mullet on the bottom. Night fishing has been good in the rivers and residential canals around lighted docks. Jumbo shrimp have been a good choice, with snook, reds and trout the main targets. Gulf Harbors has been particularly productive. Drum to 15 pounds are being landed at the north Anclote Park pier. Tarpon Fishing Outfitters, (727) 942-8944: Capt. Dave says the days are hot, and many anglers fishing daytime have resigned themselves to shark fishing on the deeper grass flats and around the island passes. A chum block and live or cut bait will get the job done. Blacktip sharks are one of the primary species being taken. The same passes are providing some good action on mackerel, with fish schooling and taking live bait. Chumming is a good tactic. One Stop Bait and Tackle, (727) 842-5610: Joe says there are good numbers of large trout in residential canals. Many anglers are getting their fishing in early to beat the heat, but night fishing is another good option now. Snook are being taken around the river and creek mouths, with many of the fish newly arriving from the beach spawning grounds. The flats are covered up with small sharks, and schools of mackerel have been around the island passes and on the deep grass flats. Permit are starting to show up at the Anclote power plant outfall. Offshore, anglers are fishing 60 feet of water or better for gag grouper. One boat worked around 100 feet over structure, taking some Amberjack before turning to bottom fishing and landing a number of nice gags.
The Long Pier, (727) 391-9398: Beach Bob says there still are a few tarpon being hooked at the end of the pier at Redington Shores, though the action is slowing. A lot of black drum are being caught, with fish 14 to 24 inches taking shrimp in about 5 feet of water. The trout bite is best after dark under the lights. A few mangrove snapper are being landed, along with the odd pompano. Some jumbo snook are hanging around the pilings after dark, with a few monsters being hooked. Pier 60, (727) 462-6466: Kelli reports good action on mackerel, which are moving through in waves at times. Flounder have been biting well, along with a few pompano and mangrove snapper. Keeper-sized reds have been caught over the past week, along with some nice sheepshead. Trout have been active at night under the lights at the pier on Clearwater Beach, and a couple of tarpon have been hooked. Nick Stubbs is founder and webmaster of Bitetracker.com, an interactive fishing website.