By Ed Walker

Offshore bottom fishing is red hot right now. So far this summer we have experienced the best action in years. This is somewhat odd considering that in the past two years the fish vanished in explicably. Even the top scientists and fisheries researchers struggled to find an explanation for the missing red grouper. Commercial catches plummeted and recreational landings did the same.

Now commercial catches are way up, and most offshore charter boats are easily catching their limits.  Even better news is that until July 29 recreational anglers can also keep red snapper and both species have been found in the same spots.

To target the red and red combo, head offshore to 100 feet of water or more. Watch your bottom machine for dips in the sea floor. This is where the hardbottom is. The higher flat bottom is sand and where its washed out a few feet deeper is where the rocks and fish are. We usually drop a couple of dead baits on each one to check it before anchoring. If the fish are home you will know right away. If you hook-up on the first drop or two park it and send em’ all down.

If the dolphins come in and start eating your released fish, pick up and run 3 or 4 miles at high speed. Any closer or slower and they will follow you. Remaining on a spot while marine mammals eat everything you release is extremely detrimental to the fishery.