Pro Insider – Hunt Grouper in Deeper Water As Temps Rise

When the water temperature rises into the mid 80s offshore, grouper start their migration to the deeper, cooler waters. Look for the main concentration of red grouper in depths of 120 feet and more. Focus on the harder patches in the middle of the reef instead of the edges where the sand and hard bottom meet. Ledges and small roll-offs in these areas also will hold plenty of fish. When the water warms, live bait is an absolute necessity. Pinfish, pigfish or live Spanish sardines get the job done. The first few baits should be hooked through the nose using whatever size leader you would normally use. As the bite slows, lighten your leader and move the hook closer to the back of the bait (usually right behind the anal fin) on the bottom. This more than likely will produce a few extra fish. When making these trips well offshore during the summer, make sure you can stay in touch with the weather conditions and forecast. If you want to spend the money, you can get satellite weather radar on many GPS units. If not, keep your VHF weather radio on in the early afternoon.

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

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