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By Capt. Brylee
Special to the Pioneer
Anglers have been doing very well both inshore and offshore over the past few weeks. The afternoon thunder storms have forced many trips to be limited to half day outings but the fish are there. Red and gag grouper are being caught in as little as 28 feet depths.
Capt. John Blouse reported doing very well around 42-44 feet, catching on one outing 15 keepers and not even reaching 50 feet in depth. The red grouper hit a little better than the gag in these depths but both were hitting.
Blouse uses a medley of bait including frozen threadfin herring, sardines, northern mackerel and poggies as well as using live pinfish and pigfish.
Blouse rigs his line to fish the bottom with a 4-6 oz. sinker on 40-50 lb. test monofilament line with an 80 lb. monofilament leader. Red or pink Andes line is his preferred line as it becomes invisible in depths of eight feet or greater.
“Bait fish is everywhere,” Blouse said, “from inshore in the shallows all the way out to 80 feet or better, the bait fish are there.”
This is good in locating the fish as they will tend to be where the bait is. When fishing in the shallower depths (25-45 feet) you may find you will have to move frequently to reach your limits.
The fish are down there but are a little more finicky when the water temperatures are above 80 degrees and the bait fish are so prevalent.
In addition to grouper and red snapper, large sharks have been reported just offshore as well as smaller ones inshore on the flats. Blouse reported seeing an 8 to 10 foot hammerhead several days in a row when fishing one of his designated spots.
Scallopers are also doing well as the waters have cleared and they are thick now all over the flats. Local scalloper Erin Hoopaugh, scalloping in Lanark Bay with her uncle, was able to hit their 10 gallon limit within just a few hours three days in a row last week.
Unlike a few weeks back when all the reports showed them in depths of six to eight feet, they have moved closer in now and are being found in shallower depths of three to five feet.
Richard Holley of Carrabelle said the shells seem smaller this year than last in his area but the meat inside is large, averaging the size of your thumb.
Please obey all state and local laws and remember to catch and release.