Welcome to Gag grouper season 2017 folks! Yes gag grouper season is open and smoking hot and here’s a few things to get you started. Both red and gag grouper can be caught on a wide variety of baits including trolled lipped plugs and natural bait like live pinfish, squirrel fish, squid, Spanish sardines or any cut bait that you can get down to them. I like to fish for these bottom dwelling brawlers with one of the simplest rigs there are and that’s the traditional style bottom rig. Now this is achieved by a few simple items. First being a swivel, not too fancy here just something that will prevent that lead weight from sliding all the way down to the hook. Ok, you’ve got your swivel and now you need a lead weight, I like 3-4 oz egg sinkers… not too heavy and yet heavy enough. So take that lead and feed it on the working end of your line and secure the line to that swivel with a clench or fisherman’s knot. You can also place a small bead between the lead and the swivel as to preserve the integrity of the knot. Next cut about 3 feet of 50 lb fluorocarbon, secure one end to the empty eye of that swivel… so one eye has the sinker and the other has the fluorocarbon. Next to finish out the rig you’ll need a man sized hook to tie on. For this I’d recommend a 7\0 circle hook. Circle hooks are a must when fishing for reef fish like snapper and grouper. Use those bait choices I mentioned earlier and you’ll be screaming for Ethel to get the net! Oh and one last bit of advice… when you drop (to prevent tangles) try to flip that bait and sinker a short distance away from you to create a bit of an angle so when that sinker and bait rockets towards the bottom that cut bait is less likely to spin around your line and twist you up. Well I guess I can tell you one more trick, with that circle hook… don’t set it. The best piece of advice I can give you is just start reeling like crazy until you feel him pulling back and then lift. If you set the hook, you’ll be reeling up to re-bait. While you’re out there to take a peek for Bonito because they are in big numbers out off the beaches and offer a great opportunity to bend a rod.
For the inshore folks find a buddy with an offshore boat and fish for snapper, kings and grouper. (joking) Overall the bite has been poor but not totally on life support. But one thing is rock solid is our snook fishing. But if you absolutely have to fish inshore it is that time of year again where the back country fishing will have its peaks and valleys. What I mean by that is you’ll have to balance your style of fishing accordingly. For instance… if you want to fish for snook and reds and the misses wants to see that tarpon leaping majestically in the air well, you kind of have to commit to one or the other because the water temperatures may not be conducive to accommodate both. So what you need to do is pick the best option and go for that one… my suggestion is take the misses to see that leaping king so next time you can go throw your topwater baits at first light. We’re slinging soft plastic on a lead jig head around the edge of the grass flats and around the pot holes. I like to throw pilchards under a popper cork and a 6/0 circle hook. Water clarity is going to dictate which color you want to use and these are my recommendations for our waters would be new penny, root beer and lastly gold and glitter. I have been seeing some nice reds lately. Redfish, early in the am hrs those reds are up on the flats and will move under cover after the sun gets up over head, and soaking chunked ladyfish will most likely be your best bet… if you can keep the cats off of it.
Keep in mind that the dog days of summer are upon us so keep plenty of water onboard and stay hydrated…. Nothing ruins a day of fishing like a good heat injury… and if your heart is beating really hard and you’re not catching fish or about to crash your boat …. You might wanna drink some water. Once you get a little dehydrated your blood will thicken and your heart has to work harder to push it thru your veins…. So keep an eye on each other and have fun out there.
Folks, that’s gonna do it for us here at Florida Inshore Xtream charters. But… if you’d like to come on out and join Kelly and I for a great time on the water… give us a call @ 941-698-0323 or… find us on Facebook, Instagram or our web page @ www.Floridainshorextream.com