Fishing the Ledges

Recent offshore fishing reports from the Southwest region.


Fishing the Ledges

Florida Sportsman member: Veikx

The bite was relatively slow, we fished with 20lb fluorocarbon using a 1/2-1 oz knocker rig on a #2 mutu light hook. Live pilchards were the go to bait, we had bought a some shrimp to try for any hogfish as well. The bite picked up after we put in a chum block, with smaller fish around 13 to 14 inches. The larger ones starting biting as soon as we brought out the grill and cooked some hot dogs!

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Catching While You Can

Florida Sportsman member: larrywitt

First spot was only 7 miles out where i have had a good lane snapper bite plus some nice flounder in the mix. We set up on the spot the bite was constant grunts, porgys, mangrove snapper, and the first black sea bass I have ever seen caught on this coast.

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Night Time Snapper Bite

Florida Sportsman member: Veikx

We used 5000 sized spinning gear with 15 feet of 20 pound flourocarbon leader. We used knocker rigs in the beginning and then switched over to 1/0 mutu light circle hooks free-lined with pilchards and squid. We had some quality yellowtails for only being in 55 feet.

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Grouper Prospecting

Florida Sportsman member: Angler22

We ended up working our way back south due west of Doctors and began drifting around 1:00 in 75 feet of water. The red grouper were active but a lot of shorts. We finally put a keeper in the boat. Slowly we started adding more keepers. At around 2:00 they turned on with us ending the day with 8 keepers and 40 to 50 shorts.

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Grouper Grapple Win

Florida Sportsman member: PigskinCapt

We managed a 79 pound black to take first place. Also weighed a 23 pound gag and a 17 pound red grouper. The gag fishing this summer has been a little slow in the deeper water. We only managed to catch 2 gags in some areas that generally hold some nice fish. Weighed one 12 pound mutton snapper, the winning fish was just under 18 pounds.

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Nearshore Mangrove Snapper

Florida Sportsman member: RMD

Found a nice little mango spot in 70 feet of water. The fish were pretty selective today. A few mangos were picked up on chicken rigs, but the majority of fish landed were caught on a 3/8 ounce jig head tipped with live shrimp. We also caught a handful of nice lanes, grunts, and porgies. The prize of the day was a fat hogfish.

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Venice Offshore Bite

Florida Sportsman member: perlman1234

Forum member perlman123 got into some nice fish off of Venice recently. prospecting his new home water, he brought home the filets! Nice work.

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Groupers out of Redfish Pass

Florida Sportsman member: larrywitt

Very fast drift, 8 ounces minimum to stay near bottom. First 6 fish were keepers, 21 to 24 inches so we worked the area till the tide stopped as did the bite. Found some good bottom set out the hook and broke out the chum. Took 10 to 15 minutes to turn the bite back on. Never did go deeper as planned. oh well always a next time. Final tally 12 in the box to 25 inches.

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Hitting the Deep Water

Florida Sportsman member: ThePigskinCaptain

Made one night spot where we picked some nice yellowtails and a few muttons. The barracudas were ferocious and, as it’s been for the last few months, the amberjacks and almacos were a real pest. Caught a 60 pound jack in 900 feet of water deep dropping.

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Fort Myers Offshore

Florida Sportsman member: GDM Phil

We got about 25 miles out and setup. It was non stop action all day! Between huge gags, that had to be thrown back and the red grouper. We managed 3 keepers grouper, a bunch of Grover’s, lanes and grunts.

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Full Moon Grouper in the Southwest

Florida Sportsman member: larrywitt

He also brought some cat fish that he had for tarpon season on one rod for quite awhile no takers so he took it off threw it over board . Puts on a pin fish and it gets slammed! We get it on deck and what does it spit out? the cat fish we had thrown overboard. Go figure!

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Deep Trip : Swords, Sails and Black Grouper

Florida Sportsman member: Feeding Frenzy

We recently did a long range trip from Venice, Fl to Orange Beach, Alabama to fish around the oil rigs and did fairly well. The fishing in Orange Beach was horrible as all of the run-off from the mid-West’s springtime heavy rains finally made their way down the Mississippi River and out into the Gulf. We fished the rigs 100-125 nm out and found the water to be a coffee color and very warm. While our target quarry was yellowfin tuna and marlin, it did not work out. The rigs however were very impressive to see.

We fished three rods at varying depths; all rigged with large squid baits from Baitmaster’s of Florida. At about 11:30 pm we got a bite on the far right rod and had a pretty decent fish on the line. After about a 45 minute fight, we had a nice swordfish on the leader. Turns out, the silly fish ate all three baits in the spread and certainly wasn’t going anywhere.

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Punta Rassa Red Grouper & Yellowtail

Florida Sportsman member: Veikx

We headed out right before dawn, the thunderstorms surrounded us at Punta Rassa and made it out there regardless. Needless to say we did not get wet at all after breaking out the rain gear. We made a pitstop in 50 feet to load up on some pins and headed straight to the stoney. We immediately set up and got the chum working, in about 2-3 minutes, Joe Isley hooks up to a big fish. All of us are laughing right now as we think it is a big blue runner or a almaco jack. Fish comes into sight and it is a TRUE flag!! We land that sucker and it measured in at 28.5 inches the biggest one i’ve seen on our coast. My record tail was 27 inches so my record was beat.. We caught two more tails, regarding bait, they were all caught on live shrimp tipped on 1/2 oz jig heads with 30 pound yozuri flouro. We booked it to some red grouper grounds where we managed a couple red’s nothing too big, just barely keepers at 21-23 inches.

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New Pass : Gags, Red Grouper & Amberjack

Florida Sportsman member:capeangler

Fished somewhere around 60 miles out of New Pass today on a Gag specific trip. Plan was to fish a handful of ledges in the 26.** line. All bait caught the night before died, so we got out pretty late, after refilling the well with big baits. Caught a limit of Gags and even 2 Reds. All fish were in the 30 inch + range. Fishing was slow but consistent until the AJ’s showed up and seemed to follow us everywhere. Released a dozen or so AJ’s. Lost some monster gags to the ledges today. 65/60 was just a little too light.

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Armed Forces Grouper fishing

Florida Sportsman member:larrywitt

Had the privilege of fishing with Brooke and her dad Keith, she just finished basic and is going to her first posting.We wanted to get an early start targeting grouper. We met at Tight Loops boat at 6am and began to prepare for the day. I put in the numbers on his GPS for our first stop. As we were still preparing his boat we could see and hear the thunder and lightning in the gulf towards the south west, the exact direction we were heading. My hopes were that it would be heading away from us WRONG!! As we were heading out the front was moving closer so I decided to detour the Edison drop a line and see what the weather was going to give us. Drift was really fast because of the wind requiring six to 8 ounce weights to even get close to the bottom.In no time Brooke was pulling fish over the gunnels, she even caught a stone crab.Wind, waves, and dark clouds Brooke never flinched. We could see a slight clearing in the clouds so we made the run for it. Arrived at the first number and dropped in our lines still 3 to 4 mile south drift porgys,grunts,lanes and red shorts were caught. seas were laying down a little I put in another line and made a move. Brooke got hammered on a white jig head Tight Loops put on for her. It was fun to watch.

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Wild Moon Red Grouper

Florida Sportsman member:Bluefin

The target was red grouper yesterday, and the day did not start out very promising. Rounding up live pinfish is usually pretty easy. Not this time. After chewing up quite a bit of time at three different spots, we only managed half a dozen live baits. I was starting to worry that the super full moon was going to somehow shut down the fishing. We ran out of New Pass to about 100 feet anyway and started our drifts using live bait on one rig, and a jig and squid combo on another.

Almost immediately, Peter had a fish on, and a minute later I was into a fish. We had a double red grouper hook up, except both fish were shorts. Again I started fussing that the full moon was going to screw up the fishing and that it’s not a lot of fun to run out to 100 feet for a bunch of shorts. Well the action was pretty steady over the next few hours. We ended up with 6 nice keepers ranging from 22 inches to 26 inches, with a bunch of shorts thrown into the mix. The type of bait used made no difference…

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Boca Grande Bottom Fishing

Florida Sportsman member:SJC

Headed 20 miles west of Boca Grande member Ptrshenry as a buddy boat. With another false forecast from NOAA it was a manageable but, not a very fun ride out in a 20 ft bay boat, thankfully the seas died down through the day and turned into a beautiful day for fishing.
We stoped and an artificial reef and after a couple drifts found where the fish were holding and dropped anchor. It was lane Snapper after lane, porgy after porgy. Then the red grouper woke up and it was non stop for about 2 hours. A lot of shorts I bet we threw back 20 that were 18 inches or smaller than that. We did end up with a keeper from the group…

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Successful Red Snapper Trip

Florida Sportsman member: Angler Systems

It was a solid day on the water today and a great start to Red Snapper season. On the way out we did try trolling for an hour in 100 feet but without any action we continued out to our first spot in 158 feet. First two lines down brought up two keeper fish a Red Snapper and Scamp. The bite continued for about an hour but then slowed significantly. With keeper fish consisting of three Red Snapper, three Scamp and two Red Grouper we began to worry. We moved around and fished in 156 feet to 162 feet marking a mess but catching only a few. We fished the next two hours only putting two more fish on the box. Then like it often does all craziness broke loose and we achieved our goal for a Red Snapper limit. We caught 16 Grouper up to 30 inches, three Scamps, a nice Mango Snapper and a 24 inch gator porgy.

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A Busy Day Offshore/strong>

Florida Sportsman member: Gamekilla

Headed out of Weeks around 7. Tried Big carlos for bait but there was no current, so we headed off to the tripod and loaded up with a few casts of the net. Cruised past the group of boats off Knapps point and headed out to some wrecks about 12 miles offshore. It was a nasty ride out on the pathfinder but worth it. Constant action all day with some big kings, released gags, bonita and amberjack. We probably lost 30-40 fish (probably kings) but some took us in the wreck so you never know. We used white bait all day and had times when we had three rods going off all at once! It was a great day.

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Grouper : Southwest of Sanibel

Florida Sportsman member: conch50

Took my son and some of his high school buddies out Sunday. Started in 80 feet and picked up a few reds in the 22 to 24 range. Bite was not bad but still a lot of barely 20 or just under that went back. Was too busy venting to get many pictures and the ones I did get had my thumb in the middle lol. Decided to try a couple of ledges out in about 100. Dropped down a couple of good sized pins and rods bent. Couple of nice gags about 26 inches.They were vented and sent back down to hopefully be seen again in a couple of months. I put down a light rig with live shrimp and get slammed. After a few minutes of battling up comes the biggest porgy I have ever caught. One of the boys hooks up on a goliath. These guys play football and are always bragging about how much they can bench or squat. By the time he finally got him up-five good runs and about 30 minutes he had 2 of his buddies on the rod lifting to reel in. In the picture I’m not sure if he is smiling because of the fish or just that it was over with[...]

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Starting Off Grouper Season the Right Way

Florida Sportsman member: jocofi

We hit our usual producing grouper grounds but didn’t get much. On Sunday we caught lots of bait, then we headed to our usual grounds again. We picked up a few small fish and then decided to head out a bit further to search for new grounds. In 70 feet of water we drifted over a magical spot, surrounded by mackerel and broom stick bending grouper. We continued to run the same drift with similar results. Heavy leadheaded jigs tipped with various types of fish did the trick. We also had a dolphin hanging around us for a few spots. Most of the undersized fish made it safely back down but one grouper hung around the surface too long and was captured.

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Venice Offshore

Florida Sportsman member: nfairbank

After a rather late start due to the fog, managed to catch a few baits and then off to 140 feet. First fish in the boat was an African Pompano about 27 inches.The AJ fishing was good with lots of decent size fish, 45 – 70 pounds, for all on board. After boxing our limit of AJs, it was off to grouper fish.

The gag grouper were biting and of course returned to live until opening day. The juvenile red grouper were biting but could not find any decent fish. We went to some spots we fished last Friday where caught some really nice reds up to about 18 pounds.

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Sarasota Offshore

Florida Sportsman member: Captain_Tim

Went offshore Superbowl Sunday with the intentions of catching a mako, but like always the weather man was wrong again, was suppose to be 10 to 15 knots with 2 to 3 foot seas but after hitting the 20 mile mark it was easy 4 to 5 feet with a few 6 footers mixed in. So changed plans on the way out and decided to opt out of targeting a 200-to 400-pound high jumping shark and go for some snapper and amberjack.

Ended up with a 20-pound cobia, some nice 4-to 5-pound mango snapper, some yellowtail snapper, beeliners, porgies, AJ’s in the 30-to 40-pound class, oh and an African pompano.

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Limiting out on Red Grouper

Florida Sportsman member: Angler Systems

Mission accomplished for us yesterday. The plan was to limit out on Red Grouper before the season closes at the end of the month. We had an older boat wishing to follow us (some history of motor issues) so we wanted to stay as close as possible but still get into some keeper fish. We left the dock at 7:45, broke the pass by 8:30 and were fishing by 9:10 in 75 to 80 feet[...]

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Grouper off Ft. Myers

Florida Sportsman member: nuclearfishn

Headed out past the 240 ledge. Saw too many boat out there so went another 8 miles. Picked up a few grouper and snapper in the 70-75 foot range. Grouper are real spread out. Not one fish broke the surface all day. Caught this fat 27 inch grouper dropping a jig. Fattest grouper I have ever caught for this size. had to go close to 20 pounds [...]

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Grouper Southwest of Sanibel

Florida Sportsman member: conch50

Went out yesterday with my 15 year old. Fishing 65-70 feet of water. Bite was pretty decent and conditions were just about perfect. Kept 4 reds with the largest 27 inches, couple of nice mangroves around 17 inches. Sometimes when things are breaking down or a trip doesn’t go right, I start complaining to myself about the money it takes to keep a boat. Then you get a day like yesterday, beautiful water with just you and your son (and best friend) and it all makes sense why it’s worth it.[...]

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Sarasota Trolling Bite

Florida Sportsman member: FlatzBroke

Headed offshore Wednesday in search of a trolling bite, mainly looking for wahoo and tuna. Stopped in 140 feet and found plenty of bonito. Not quite what we were looking for so we headed out to 160 feet again, more bonito. But, we did find a decent dolphin. So we headed to our last spot in 180 feet that drops off to over 200 feet. As soon as we got in the area we spot a frigate bird. Ok, things are looking up. I steer the boat right under him and he leads me right to the ledge, as soon as my arrival alarm sounds BAM! Tripled header of blackfins! Alright things are looking much better. Anyway, we troll around for the next couple of hours or so and end up with at least 2 triple headers multiple doubles and singles. And plenty of lost fish too. Total for the day was 14 blackfins, 2 red grouper and a dolphin [...]

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Tripletail Hunting

Florida Sportsman member: InshoreSlam

Headed out this morning with a good buddy of mine for tripletail. With the livewell full of shrimp, we headed out off the lighthouse offshore to find a nice string of crab pots. In about 25-30 feet of water we found a nice string and followed it all the way to redfish pass. During the run we wound up seeing a trip around every 5 to 6 pots down. Most of the ones we caught were small…around 10-12 inches, but managed 2 keepers, a 15 inch and a 23 inch. We wound up catching around 7 or 8 total. It was a great day, the seas were calm and the sun was out![...]

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More Triple Tail Action

Florida Sportsman member: Feeding Frenzy

The tripletail fishing this past week has been phenomenal !! I have fished in SW Florida for a long time and this is the best season, by far. The trips have been holding on the deeper (30ft plus) trap balls. Today, we caught 18 and saw well over 30 fish, with some trap balls holding multiple fish. If they weren’t bigger ones, we did not even turn around on them. Some have been pushing the 10 lb mark over the past 7 days or so[...]

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Monster Triple Tail off SRQ

Florida Sportsman member: Captain_Tim

Went out for a few hours today with one of the mates that I work with to target some triple tail, since he told me he has never caught or eaten one. So we left the dock around 12:30pm with a few dozen hand pick shrimp in search of some triple tail. We started running the crab pots and with in minutes we had our first tail in the box, only about 16 inches but a good way to start the day. For the next half hour or so we probably caught 7-10 shorts between 12-15 inches and then I see the beast of triple tail hanging on a buoy. We throw the biggest shrimp we had on a circle hook, put it right in front of his nose and he sucked it down! Ended up fighting that fish for almost 15 min but we finally got him in the boat and we put him on the scale to see what he weighed 18 POUNDS![...]

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Southwest Offshore; Red Grouper,Permit

Florida Sportsman member: Veikx

We managed to make it to some red grouper grounds out 40 miles. The early morning was brutal with the thick fog close to shore. Thank god for radar, as one boat came within 70 feet of us buzzing by. Around 7am we were out looking for bait, the closer bait spots of mine had been wiped clean from this past red tide we had. We trekked out further to about 50′ and found a nice new spot. We Loaded the well with hardtails and made our way to 80′ of water. Headed to some ledges with 4-5′ of relief and bagged 4 red grouper. Marked some new bottom and then decided to head to our red grouper grounds 11 miles further out. [...]

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Action Packed Two Day Adventure

Florida Sportsman member: Captain_Tim

Around the end of September I get a call from a buddy of mine that is a camera guy for a new fishing show that will be on NBC Sports in January 2013 called Gaff Life. He calls me and said they were going to shoot a show in North Carolina but there was some bad weather so it got canceled and would I be able to put a offshore trip together for the show? So of course I said hell yeah, called my boss who owns the Flying Fish Fleet and I tell him what we want to do and we quickly put a trip together [...]

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Venice Bottom Bite on Fire

Florida Sportsman member: RMD

We left New Pass at around 7 a.m. and headed out to about 160 feet. Spent a few hours trolling and picked up a few bonita for bait, but the pelagic bite was slow. Decided to switch gears and do some bottom fishing which was very productive. The seas were smooth and winds were calm, which provided perfect conditions for drifting [...]

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Summer Gags

Florida Sportsman member: YoungRx

A buddy and I reluctantly decided to give it a try on Saturday even though all the “regulars” were otherwise occupied and the surf was pretty loud from my place north of the Jetties (a good indication that the seas are to be reckoned with). I just had the engines serviced and wanted to give them some exercise prior to a deep run, so we decided to check out the conditions and stay inside 15 to 20 miles, depending. We picked up 6 dozen handpicks and a few chum blocks, then stopped outside the jetties for the obligatory sabiki dip [...]

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Naples Grouper and Hogs

Florida Sportsman member: Naples Spearo

Went out this past Saturday for the 4th weekend in a row with Dan (Dcheek2112) and our normal grouper diggin’ crew, along with 2 other guys which was there first trip on my boat. The plan was to do some diving/spearing and some hook and line in between dives. We had some new spots we found in around 120 feet of water a few weeks ago that we wanted to dive and see what was down there [...]

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The Dark Night

Florida Sportsman member: Anzuelo

As the weekend approached we made plans to leave Friday after work. We knew that it would be a pitch black night with the moon setting at the same time as the sun, but hoped that the so-called minor/minor would produce a hot bite [...]

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ARS, Gags, Wahoo, Dolphin and Mangs

Florida Sportsman member: Feeding Frenzy

The past two days offshore have been fantastic. If you have the ability to run deep while the seasons are open, do it. As other reports have indicated, the Gulf has been extremely flat and waves nonexistent. That being said, it has also been very hot due to the lack of any wind. Drink plenty of water. We have been running just past the 160′ mark to our usual marks and found the bottom bite to be fantastic. Ars on the first 5 drops, then the RG’s and chunky gags chimed in. We found some large AJ’s down on the bottom as well [...]

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Red Grouper on the Troll

Florida Sportsman member: nuclearfishn

Headed out looking for gags. Was thinking about the 240 ledge area, but saw way to many boats headed that way. Started trolling about 5 miles north of the ledge in 65 feet. trolled NW out to 80 feet. Did not mark any new spots, but did manage 4 keeper reds, biggest one around 26 inches caught in 75 feet. The woman out fished me again! Lost a big kingfish at the boat, and lost something big that pulled the hook on the troll. Next time I will go deeper [...]

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Mangroves and Kings

Florida Sportsman member: Tight Loops

I am a new offshore guy. Normally spend my time with a fly rod in the backcountry but I heard the near shore mangrove snapper bite was going off and wanted to try it.  Hooked up with Larrywit and took off with the only “intel” we had which was 50 feet off of Sanibel. Hit a spot and chummed with some home-made nuclear chum but not much action [...]

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American Red Snapper Run

Florida Sportsman member: Angler Systems

Mission accomplished today, left the dock at 5:45AM (back by 6:00 PM), ran 54 miles out to 155 – 160 feet.. Got our limit today on American Red Snapper (12) to about 10 lbs, 8 Mahi Mahi, 7 Red Grouper to 18 lbs, 3 Scamp to 10 lbs and a variety of other good stuff. Just finished having some Mahi on the grill…excellent!!! Can’t wait to run off again.

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Out of Redfish Pass

Florida Sportsman member: larrywitt

Decided to not run way out to grouper spots. Stopped at 7 miles set the hook ,no chum slick set out not too active red shorts real short. Decided to run out to catch one of Marys favorite eating fish porgys and snapper 16 miles out, circled to find the right bottom, set the hook. Let out the chum, down sized the leader line to 20 lb floro. small 2or 3 size hook lite to med spin rods took about 30 min for the fish to show [...]

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Opening Day out of Venice

Florida Sportsman member: chico

I was waiting for one of the guys who made it out with Joe Miller to post something, until then, I got this message from one of the guys: ” All in all it was good. Joe did his usual and put us on the fish. We limited out on the grouper and caught a bunch of nice mangrove’s and lane’s. I hooked and fought about a 5-6 foot spinner shark off the back on a free line that jumped twice completely out of the water before breaking me off about 3 minutes later [...]

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Excellent Kingfishing

Florida Sportsman member: Feeding Frenzy

Fished in the Venice Indians Grand Slam Fishing Tournament today and based on the weather and marine forecast decided to strictly target Kings. Other categories included inshore (redfish and trout), snapper and Wildcard, but decided our best bet would be kings. After spending the better part of 4 hours yesterday cast-netting mullet, we had a few decent baits in the baitwell for the ride out. My buddy Kirk did an outstanding job on the rod when the fish hit, landing this 37.2 lb King to secure our first place win in the kingfish division [...]

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Looking for Dinner?

Florida Sportsman member: larrywitt

Well as you know it was not 2 footers, more like 2-4′s. Mary and I ran out to a spot we were last week, I had the guys catching porgy’s and grunts and nice lanes. It was kind of hard to anchor up just right, set the hook and this time I mixed some chum in an old salt container put it in a chum bag to it I attached a 5 pound weight so I could lower it to the bottom, I used some old red line I had laying around (mistake) it took about a half an hour for the bite to start [...]

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Cobia and Mangs

Florida Sportsman member: Feeding Frenzy

Got this decent cobia today while snapper fishing on the county reefs just off Sarasota. 20 lb test fluorocarbon leader, 1/0 circle hook and a big fat shrimp right on the bottom. The fish fought for 45 minutes on light tackle. Managed about 15 or so really nice mangs (sorry no pics) and some porgy as well. Needed to chum really heavy to get the bite started, most likely because of the big moon. Even managed a decent tripletail yesterday on the ride along the beach [...]

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Offshore from Redfish Pass

Florida Sportsman member: larrywitt

Got a late start with a crew of two from Naples. Did not leave the dock till 10AM planned for a short run to catch some nice grunt for a fish fry. Stopped at about 7 miles out started catching grunts at first drop and grouper gags and reds..at around 12:30 it really laid down i suggested we run another 10 miles to where i have had a good bite lately [...]

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Fishing on the Wrecks

Florida Sportsman member: Captain Scott

The past week the wreck fishing has been amazing. The choice of bait is frozen shrimp on a 3/8 jighead. The sheepies have been in the 3 to 5 pound range. Off these wrecks my clients have been pulling in some nice snapper,flounder and grouper. Inshore fishing has been hit or miss. Back in the creeks has been good for reds and snook. Make sure you chum them up. The reds are around 15″to 25″ and the snook are on the small side [...]

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