Eye on The Weather

By: Capt. Bart Marx

Peak season for hurricanes this month so it is important to keep an eye on the weather especially planning long runs. I have 2 local TV apps for radar. I have 1 that is for pilots called MyRadar, and it has been very helpful when those afternoon boomers start. Zoom in and see where the storm is going and make safe decision. Some anglers have radar on their boats to keep an eye on the storm. NOAA has several for our coast out 20 or 60 nautical miles. If you have the means to travel out around the 80′ mark, try bottom fishing for red grouper, gag grouper, mangrove snapper, even yellow tail around some good reefs. Maybe even some AJ’s too. Depending on the breeze, if you like to drift try a chicken rig with a fairly long line for your hook and about 24″ down to your weight. Depending on the breeze as to how much weight you may need to keep your rig on the bottom. I’ve learned that speed jigs will produce good catches too. Depending on the depth, match your jig by using the formula one gram per foot of depth. Eighty to one hundred feet 80 to 100 G speed jig. These also work very well at night, I find some glow jigs and buy an ultraviolet flashlight to make it shine. This will increase your production rate a ton. When using these style jigs, keep them close to the bottom. Drop it all the way down and jig, let it flutter down a bit and jig it again only turning the handle one turn. Keep it close and when you have it ten to fifteen feet off the bottom let it fall again and restart the process. On our coast, it has not been very popular because of the shallow depths offshore, but they will produce fish. Be careful trying this around some wrecks or reefs with a high relief you may snag it and loose a jig. Around reefs or wrecks is a great place to target yellow tails and AJ”s chumming and getting them to the top and just use chunks or small live baits and a fairly long leader, just a hook when you can see the fish in the chum on the surface. Be ready for the tax man in the grey suit. If you don’t have the means or a buddy to take you out there come into the Passes along the coast and be in search for those big schools of red drum redfish. They come in close to shore this time of year to feed up on the grass flats where there is plenty of food to prepare to return offshore to spawn. Yes, there could be fifty in a school or five thousand. They could be from the Venice Jetties as far south as Sanibel, just depending on where you fish in S.W. Florida.