Offshore bite SRQ/Venice is on fire!
We left New Pass at around 7AM and headed out to about 160 feet. Spent a few hours trolling and picked up a few bonita for bait, but the pelagic bite was slow. Decided to switch gears and do some bottom fishing which was very productive. The seas were smooth and winds were calm, which provided perfect conditions for drifting. Our drift speed was about 0.3-0.4k/hr which allowed us to cover a lot of ground, while keeping our baits on the bottom without any difficulty.
The bottom bite was fantastic. We started using bonita strips and sardines but unfortunately were catching more ARS than grouper. In order to avoid harming fish we could not keep, we switched over to pinfish. The grouper bite, just like the snapper bite, was completely on fire. Double hookups were not uncommon. We ended up with 8 large keeper groupers- 6 reds and 2 gags, filling our limit in just 2 drifts. Several fish were in the 15-20 pound range. In addition to the ARS and grouper, we also caught a nice sized porgy.
We did mark several other great looking spots we wanted to try, but because we already had our grouper limit, we decided to save those for another day in order to avoid harming fish we would not be able to keep. Overall, it was a fantastic day with beautiful weather, smooth seas, and a red-hot bite! Thanks to Kevin from Feeding Frenzy for his guidance and expertise!