"There will be days when the fishing is better than one's most optimistic forecast, others when it is far worse. Either is a gain over just staying home." Roderick Haig-Brown
While grouper season is closed, many offshore anglers have turned their attention to catching some very impressive stringers of white grunts. These scrappy fighters are usually caught using light saltwater gear and cut baits such as squid. They like a shell, coral, or rocky bottom from near shore to areas out at least 100 feet deep. Most fishermen consider a good white grunt bottom to be potentially a good grouper bottom as well. While the grunt averages 8 to 10 inches, they are not uncommon to 12 inches or larger especially in deeper water. Grunts are a very good eating fish. Smaller grunts are usually pan fried whole while larger ones are filleted. The world’s record is 6 pounds, 8 ounces.
Local angler David Watson and Chuck Gess from Brookfield, Wisconsin caught these great stringers of White Grunts on an all day charter aboard the Double Eagle.
Inshore fishing in our area has been improving daily with the increase of water temperature. Baitfish populations have been increasing in the last couple of weeks and with that we are seeing in increase in game fish. The sheephead bite is still very hot around piers, docks, and bridge pilings. Most of these are being caught using live shrimp and fiddler crabs. We’ve seen many anglers catching some nice size black sea bass using live shrimp and cut pinfish. Spotted sea trout are hitting live shrimp on bobber rigs. Same goes for Spanish mackerel that are moving through the intra-coastal waters in large schools. We even have a report of an angler who missed a keeper size cobia on the piers next to the Bait House. It would be nice to see the cobia moving north again to our area from its winter grounds in the Keys. Surprised anglers who have been night fishing in and around sea grass have been catching live squid and octopus. Frozen squid seems to be the bait of choice for the squid and live or dead minnows seem to work on the octopus.
Please help keep our piers and shoreline clean for the next anglers. Remember that the Bait House has dock access for your boat and we can always be reached on your marine radio to check on bait availability. New tackle and gear arrive weekly. We also have rental rods and reels as well as aerated bait buckets for your day on the water. Thanks to those that email at Jim2988@msn.com and as always, Good Luck Out There!
Jim can be found daily at the Bait House - Clearwater Municipal Marina, phone 446-8134
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