Grouper, snapper worth targeting
GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Bill Miller. Offshore bottom fishing is good, reports captain Joe Maisano. Big gag and red grouper are slamming live baits. Mangrove snapper can be chummed off the bottom and hooked with a small piece of cut bait, or small white bait, drifted in the chum line. Big red snapper are thick and are biting with the grouper, but they must be vented and released. The best depths are outside of 80 feet. Maisano says the African pompano have moved into some springs and wrecks. Not often caught around here, the best bait for the African pompano is a live threadfin or white bait. Robbie Deross and friends limited out on gag grouper in 40 feet off St. Pete fishing with captain Billy Miller. Also included in the catch was a 25-pound dolphin.While filming a tarpon fishing episode of "Fishing with Bill Miller" at the Redington Pier, I watched anglers catching Spanish mackerel and flounder, sharks and big southern rays. Casting silver spoons was the best way to catch mackerel, and the flounder were biting white bait around the pilings. A fresh hunk of cut Spanish mackerel was enticing the sharks and giant rays. Tarpon were also active on the pier, with four jumped during the morning hours. Tarpon are moving back into Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay. Dennis Cleveland landed and released an estimated 115-pound tarpon and jumped another using fresh-cut shad on the bottom in Sarasota Bay. Captain Jason Stock has been seeing quite a few cobia along Anna Maria's Gulf beaches and in Tampa Bay. Stock and his clients landed some big ones in the 40-pound range. The downtown St. Pete area is producing good redfish catches for captain Chris Wiggins. Wiggins and his charter caught more than 40 slot reds in a half-day trip using cut threadfins.
For more information, visit www.billmiller.com. To book a charter with captain Bill or his son captain Billy, call (813) 363-9927.