Grouper Diggers, this is the month we’ve been waiting for. September starts off our fall grouper season, and the shorter days and slightly cooling water temperature, puts the gag grouper in an aggressive feeding mood. Ledges, rock piles, artificial reefs and wrecks from 10 to 70 feet, will be holding better numbers of grouper. Many of the offshore locations have been a little slow this year. from the summer hot water temperatures. However, there should be some hefty gags ready for a one-on-one battle, taking up residence on your favorite grouper structures in the coming weeks.
Depending on the floating grass, this time of year is ideal for trolling large lipped plugs over your favorite grouper bottom. Experiment with natural and bright colored combinations, to see what flavor the grouper are wanting. For the bottom fisherman, always start the bite with frozen sardines or threadfin herring, and then send down that frisky live pinfish and “hold on”.
On the inshore scene, the speckled trout will start moving back inshore from their deep summer haunts. Look for shallow “yellow” hard bottom areas in 3 to 4 feet of water with kelp grass growing on it. The grass has been growing all summer, and is a haven for both bait fish and trout. DOA deadly combos with the glow or holographic root beer shrimp combinations are very effective.
September is always a fantastic red fish moth. Many of the largest fish of the year are encountered now, and the early fall time of year; one can have double digit days. Cut baits such as mullet and lady fish are hard to beat, as well as free-lined live shrimp, gets the job done. Islands with good current flow and limestone bottom are always good starting points. Be ready for a snook or two to bend the rod as well. They are feeding aggressively for the upcoming cooler months and are always a welcomed surprise.
Another best bet with the cooling water temperatures are Spanish mackerel. Look for them harassing bait fish over hard bottom structures. Have a spoon or jig ready with a small piece of wire or at least 40lb fluorocarbon, to prevent cut offs for when the occasion arises – you’ll have an instant hook up. Option two for mackerel, is to anchor up with a chum bag and free-line some live shrimp on a #2 long shank hook for some drag screaming fun… Good Fishing!