It’s grouper time! It’s been four months since the season closed but May 1 is the opening of grouper season. So up your gear. I would recommend 80-pound main line and leader. A #8 circle hook and enough lead to hold bottom for the depth and current your in. I like either a live grunt, pin fish, big pilchards or croaker for live bait. And pogies for dead bait. Best areas will be rock piles and ledges in 60, 90, 160 and 240 feet. Remember some time the best fishing is on some of the smallest marks of fish, on some of the smallest pieces of bottom.
There should be some good trolling too. Look for that rip where there’s a temperature and color change, and if there’s a weed line with flying fish or bait; then work it cause that’s where they should be. I usually start looking in the 120-foot area but you may have to run out to 160, 240 or even 600 feet. Ballyhoo trolled with or without a lure will produce bites. It’s always good to have a few live baits pilchards or herring in case you see a picky one.
Always have a bait rigged on wire run either on a down rigger or cigar lead. This will target that wahoo and is pretty good at enticing a dolphin bite in that middle day time when the bite seems to slow down or stop.
For all of you fishing the reefs in the 60 and 90 feet, expect some good action if you can sneak them by the sharks. There should be good numbers of mangrove snapper, triggerfish, lane snapper and remember with the sharks there will be cobia.
As always, be courteous to your fellow angler, you never know when you’ll need a tow. Support your local tackle shops. We’re lucky to have them. If you don’t have access to a network of fishermen, then join a fishing club. I recommend Sebastian Fishing Club. 90-plus members now, that’s a network.
“Fish On, Gotta Go!”
FORECAST BY: Capt. Terry Wildey
Big Easy Fishing Charters
Phone: (772) 538 – 1072