Pro Insider – Abundance of bait bringing huge variety of fish to eastern gulf

With so many species in the eastern gulf, it may become difficult to pick a favorite target. The abundance of bait offshore right now is amazing, and it is bringing in some very special species. Sailfish, tuna, cobia, wahoo and even some kingfish are pushing east, gorging on fry bait in depths of 60-120 feet. A few quick tosses of the net around local bridges before the morning run offshore should produce enough bait to capitalize if you find yourself in the right area. Grouper fishing is spotty, but with a little persistence and some moving around you should find success. Concentrate in at least 90 feet of water and bring plenty of live bait. Small bottom spots such as rolloffs and potholes are producing a few fish per stop. Since these fish are not in large groups, it is imperative to move around often to ensure you are always targeting new fish. A mix of live and frozen offerings will help procure a variety of species such as red and gag grouper as well as mangrove and lane snapper that spots of this type are known for holding. When fishing offshore during summer, it is very important to keep a close eye on the weather — big thunderstorms can pop up in a hurry. When the forecast calls for easterly winds during the day, the storms will be around on the beach in the afternoon. By contrast, when westerly winds are in the forecast the storms will be found offshore during the morning. Either way, electronics can be equipped with real time weather and is about the best thing you can purchase for your offshore boat. Updated positions, lighting and wind data are very important and could save you and your crew from danger.

Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.

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