After another week of bad weather anglers are looking forward to the first shot at gag grouper. Open in state and federal water’s on June1st with a decent weather forecast this is a good thing for local bait shops, marinas and grouper diggers. My charters don’t target grouper but I’ve had keeper sized fish landed or chase trout and other species from structure out at 12 feet in state waters recently. Most serious offshore captains have told me 30 to 50 feet is the best depth, but I have to say that I’ve doubt any of them have been out there since the tropical storm. Big tides and moving waters can make fish move. I did see local offshore skipper Zach Hoffman loading up on threadfin and cigar minnows, plus the many pinfish traps that were ready to be set as I write this report.  The minimum size for gag grouper is 24″ , two per angler with captain and crew limit not to be kept if on a paid charter.

 On the near shore rocks I’ve had good luck with grunts, flounder, spanish mackerel, blue fish, trout  and a few mangrove snapper using live shrimp on a 1/8th oz. jig head. The surprise was a 30 inch permit that we fought until almost landed but wrapped itself around the anchor line just past the reach of the net. After trying a few different approaches if broke free with some chartreuse lip jewelry. Cobia have been showing up so be prepared at the grouper spot with a heavy spinning rod for them. I’ve witnessed allot of nice cobia lost because of the drag set very tight intended to pull grouper from the rocks. High incoming tide will be late afternoon this weekend.
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