Winter fishing conditions are just around the corner

Daily fishing report – Winter fishing conditions are just around the corner. As water temperatures dip into the mid 60s, amberjacks and grouper move closer to shore.

The biggest challenge is finding live bait. Large pinfish and blue runners work best for amberjacks although silver-colored jigs worked over springs and shipwrecks can produce jacks.

Jigging requires a lot of effort. Drop the jig to the bottom, then yank the rod up fast and let the jig fall. Reel in some line, then repeat the process until the jig gets to the surface, then start over. The jacks will strike the jigs on the float down. Once they hit, set the hook.

Use 6-foot leaders and just enough weight to get the live bait down to the level the jacks are holding. A good fish finder will let you see where they are located.

Fighting belts and a good drag system are required. Jacks will run from 20-70 pounds and show up in 75-85 feet of water.

Grouper fishing is good, especially in waters 65 feet and deeper. Start fishing with frozen sardines cut in half, then switch to live bait for the bigger fish. Always keep someone fishing dead bait to keep the smaller fish feeding.

–Larry “Huffy” Hoffman charters out of John’s Pass, Treasure Island. Call 727 709-9396 or e-mail him at huffyl@tampabay.rr.com

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