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On the Trail of James - Online Bonus

On the Trail of James - Online Bonus
On the Trail of James - Online Bonus

Big Meals for Big Fish

Menhaden, northern and Boston mackerel and bonito strips are great dead baits for big grouper. For a lively presentation, butterfly the dead baits: Reverse fillet, from tail up, leaving the fillets intact while removing the backbone. If you really want to fish for a big bite, use a whole, butterflied bonito. Top live bait includes pinfish, hardtails, pigfish, squirrelfish and the bigger the better. My friend Nick Booker even used a 14-inch flounder last year that never made it to the bottom. It ended up in the gullet of a 32-pound snapper. Nothing is safe on the deep rocks.

Shown below are steps for making a butterfly bait. For the purposes of illustration, we've used a gray snapper, which some feel is a dynamite grouper bait. Keep in mind that, by law, the only circumstances under which you might separate heads and/or fins from a managed reef fish at sea is for personal consumption, no more than 1 ½ pounds per person. And in this case your boat must be equipped to cook such a fish.


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