Beautiful weather conditions last weekend made for some calm seas and some excellent light tackle bottom fishing for hogfish, white grunts, blue porgies and the occasional keeper red grouper.
With trout fishing being a bit slow in the northern part of the county, this particular style of fishing has not only helped in putting some quality tasting fish in the cooler but is an absolute blast on the same tackle used for trout and redfish.
Most anglers heading out to do some bottom fishing for grunts and porgies would only think to bring some squid for bait, but if you’re searching for hogfish you’re going to need shrimp or fiddler crabs.
The shrimp are easier to come by in the bait shops. However if you’re proficient at catching your own fiddler crabs that could obviously be cheaper. Either way, bring plenty of bait as the action is usually constant once a productive area is located.
Targeting ledges in 30 to 50 feet of water will put you in the right area. Using medium action rods spooled with 15-pound braid, 25-pound fluorocarbon leader and a half ounce pink jig head, thread the shrimp onto the hook tail first.
Once a hogfish is caught, stay busy, as the hogfish seem to get progressively chummed up with the more shrimp that are dropped down.
Inshore, there have been a few redfish around.
Targeting low incoming tides we’ve been able to manage a few reds each trip. Clear blue skies and windless days don’t allow for mush forgiveness from the reds, so lately we’ve gone to a strictly cut-bait routine versus using artificials or trying to stalk and sight-fish with select shrimp.
Fresh cut pinfish broadcasted in an area that’s holding mullet will allow you to cover a large area without spooking the redfish.
Until next week – get bent.
Tyson Wallerstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To get a fish photo in the paper, send the photo along with your name, when and where it was caught to editorial@TBNweekly.com or mail it to Tampa Bay Newspapers, 9911 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772.