We are catching some nice big Red Snapper using cut threadfins but the Bonita strips remain to be the best bait we can use to target the bigger red snapper as you can cut yourself a big strip!
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Mackerel are thick near shore in areas of clean water where bait is present. We did have huge areas of bait and mackerel nearly on the beaches prior to the recent red tide bloom that is sitting off our coast.
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Gag grouper action is a little sporadic but you can find them on those ledges, peaks and structures out deeper past 140ft of water it seems. Plus, we are seeing some nice scamp grouper mixed in with them too. Live bait is tough to get out there with the red tide around inshore, but we are using some of the baits we catch near shore and offshore for gags with great success like the white grunts, porgies that aren’t in the FMP and others too.
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Snook fishing has been good around the area lately, but you really got to time your trips around the tide and try to capitalize on that sunrise or sundown or nighttime action. We are having the most luck around the area using the soft plastic white paddle tails, imitation shrimp lures, or the early morning or low light conditions the surface lures work well too!
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We had a killer bite of red grouper early to middle of this past week prior to the little weather disturbance we have had. They were biting extremely well for us right ahead of that low approaching the area.
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Gag grouper action is very tough near shore right now overall unless you’re up in the bay around the shipping channel or passing near shore waters to head out deeper.
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Gag grouper fishing has slacked a bit, but we are still seeing a few fish in the 15-25lb range come up. The largest challenge is just getting them up off the bottom with the right tackle and a lot of luck with a little experience. You have to have a conventional reel with some power and at least 80-100lb test and if you’re out deeper than 140-160 at least 80-100lb maybe even 125lb leader trying to land that 20-25lb gag grouper. Live bait has been a great option for the gag grouper as well, but you can get them on the big chunks of bonita or whole octopus or squid too from time to time.
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Typically the pelagic action is best around the new moon and full moon as water is moving around more. We did see a great wahoo caught this past week and the kingfish have been active too with the occasional blackfin tuna.
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