GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Bill Miller.
Captain Ryan Farner took me and the “Fishing with Bill Miller” film crew offshore this week to do some wreck fishing. The calm seas made it easy to go 50 miles out in Farner’s 24-foot bay boat.
Our first stop was the Fort De Soto Gulf Pier, where we cast netted white bait and greenbacks. The bait was solid but it was small to medium-sized, so we used a small mesh net to fill our bait well full in two throws.
Our first stop was a shipwreck off John’s Pass. Using a GPS coordinated trolling motor, we positioned the boat just up tide of the wreck without dropping an anchor. A frozen chum bag and some cut baits soon had the snapper up in the water column ready to play. Drifting white baits into the chum line, nose hooked on a 1/0 circle hook with a 1/8-ounce knocker lead, was all it took to pull big yellowtail and mangrove snapper over the side.
While catching our limit of snapper, we noticed a blackfin tuna in the chum line. Using a heavy spinning rod, I floated three white baits on one hook back into the chum line and the tuna inhaled it. After a 15-minute fight, a 20-pound blackfin ended up in our fish box.
When fishing Gulf wrecks, it is always a good idea to throw a small to medium blue or pass crab out and let it swim around. Permit frequent most of the wrecks and sometimes you hook one.
Shortly after catching the tuna, I hooked an 18-pound permit that I landed. After a few photos, we let the powerful permit swim away.
Catch “Fishing with Bill Miller” on the World Fishing Network on Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Wednesdays at 3 a.m. and 10 a.m., and Thursdays at 5 p.m. For more, visit www.fishingwithbillmiller.com. For charter information, call captain Billy Miller (813) 363-9927.