St. Pete Report By; Capt. Anthony Corcella

Hog fishing is hot! If you have the patience to hunt these guys down, I will offer up the same great strategy that seems to work for me. To start off, I utilize medium-lite to medium size fishing rods, and our weapons of choice are the green sticks made by Kris Green. These custom fishing rods can be purchased at ST. Pete Fishing Outfitters. I prefer a 10 to 15-pound rod rating. As usual, the line of choice is 15-pound braid attached to a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader. What I feel is the most critical component of my setup is the use of a 1/4-ounce Mission Fishin jig-head.

To find them, I’m going to suggest you search around ledges–there’s no need to look for the wrecks. When fishing these areas and using this type of rig, you will also hook up with a fair amount of mangrove snapper and Key West grunts. The water depth I am looking to fish in is 25 to 60 feet. Regular or hand-picked shrimp work just fine for this application. As a rule of thumb, I typically make sure to bring 15 dozen shrimp for my clients when I’m running a 4-hour charter. Mitch’s Bait & Tackle and 4 th. Street Bait & Tackle always have great looking shrimp!

When you’re out there hoggin’, try to bring a 4/0 reel lined with 80-pound test matched with a stout rod. You’re going to want to drop a 3 to 5-ounce sinker (depending on current) with a dead bait to the bottom. My personal favorite here is to have a butterflied Key West grunt attached to the business end. Make sure you lock the drag down and then simply set it in a rod holder. You just may happen to pull up a nice gag grouper. The sheepshead bite is hot right now. I like to use small pieces of shrimp and a 1/0 hook.

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