by Capt. Philip Watson
With September being here, we can finally begin to think about cooler weather headed our way soon. As the water cools down, we will be targeting the pelagic fish coming back south for the winter. For this month, our main target will be amberjack, since they are open in federal waters and grouper (both Red and Gag). When targeting your red grouper, look for hard bottom with a decent bait show. You’ll be able to find your gags and Aj’s on high relief ledges and wrecks. It’s pretty easy to mark your Aj’s once you cross your structure. Most of the time they are the fish hanging high in a big group.
The trip I want to tell you about this month was my last day of red snapper season. I had a 10- hour charter booked with 5 anglers. At the last minute, I had 3 of the guests cancel, but I decided to run it anyway and ended up with one heck of a trip! The first spot we landed on had lanes, vermilions, and some decent sized grouper coming up. After a steady bite, the water suddenly came alive and we had a nice school of peanut mahi show up and we were able to pick off a few before they moved on. We then moved a little deeper and started red snapper fishing. All the sudden, we had something hit a bottom rod, made some wild screams, and then broke us off. Shortly after, the fish came up and we got to see an 8’-10’ tiger shark circling us for about 20 minutes or so. My charter guest thought twice about jumping into the water for a swim after seeing that monster!
Eventually we got our fill of snapper and a few more red grouper, we decided to ride over to a spring hoping for some yellowtail snapper. Once we anchored up and had a nice chum slick going, the barracudas decided to show up. We started dropping baits back to get down to the snapper, but the cuda’s weren’t having it. Every bait we dropped got slammed and quickly broken off with their sharp teeth. We switched gears and rigged up some wire and let them put on a show! It seemed like they would eat the bait before it would even hit the water. We wrestled a few then made our way back to the dock. Everyone ended up having a heck of a time out there, so think twice before you cancel that trip, it may be one you don’t want to miss!