by CAPT. DOUG HEMMER
WHAT'S HOT: The snook on the beach are in smaller schools than normal. They usually don't thin out until the first week of September. The smaller schools gave us fewer shots at hooking a snook. We did locate bigger schools inside the beach, but we couldn't get them to feed. The problem was keeping the bait alive. Scaled sardines and threadfins that were netted in deep water would not survive the move to shallow water. The 10-degree change in water temperature was too much for the bait to handle.
GROUPER: The grouper bite inside Tampa Bay has been good. Trolling large jigs, big lip plugs or bottom fishing produced legal size grouper. There were a few problems to deal with. The worst was the large patches of grass floating on the surface. We would have to pull in the trolling gear every few minutes to clear the grass off the planer and plugs. Grouper won't strike a plug covered with grass and a planer won't dive deep enough wrapped with grass. The problems we had bottom fishing were the dolphins stealing our baits and the oversized grouper cutting us off in the rocks. To fix the problem with the dolphins we left and went to a new spot. To have a chance with the larger grouper, we shorten the leader and tail-hooked the baits. Tail hooking will make the bait swim up and off the rocks. This will make the grouper swim farther from his hole. You will than have a chance to lift the grouper away from the tocks before they can get back to the den.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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