OK people , this section is for questions on fishing the 30 ft and out range in the Big Bend region.
I'll make it a sticky so anyone looking for answers on rigs and tactics can post here and everyone will be able to use the information.
Please , no inshore questions.
"You'll get your weather"
What depth are you catching Red Grouper at right now?
Have you ever tried fishing for Muttons out of Cedar Key? (15 foot leader bottom fishing like they do off of Jax) Have you ever caught Muttons with any consistency? I have attempted this many times, but it has been in water 50 feet or less, with no muttons. I think I have to be deeper.
What depth are you catching Red Grouper at right now? Guaranteed limit of pigs, 100-120' but they can be had in 45'-80' just have to work harder
Have you ever tried fishing for Muttons out of Cedar Key? (15 foot leader bottom fishing like they do off of Jax) Have you ever caught Muttons with any consistency?
Yes we catch them out of Cedar Key, generally in 130'-180'. I don't do anything different for them, 100# leader 8' and a dead minnow. As far as consistency goes if you catch 2-3 on a trip I'd be thrilled, you can catch more but it's hard. If I was going to try for them the Elbow would be your best bet. They can and are caught in the Middlegrounds also, generally the southern end. May through October is the preferred time.
I think a lot of people are like me: have a bay boat with a 50-60 gallon tank and usually don't run any further than 30-40 miles out. But sometimes those tricks at 100 feet work great at 30 feet. The other day I learned your "grouper knot" that you guys posted. After trying it a couple times I was scratching my head and asking myself why I had been tying any other knot for so many years. Things like that are the little details I truly appreciate. If I see you at a tourney again, I'll introduce myself and buy you a beer. Tight lines. Thanks!
I grew up fishing in 30'-70', I remember thinking 80'-90' was super deep for our area. I slowly started easing farther and farther out until I was eventually making 100-150 mile runs, sometimes out and back in a single day.
All of these things that work out deep will work in shallow, they may have to be scaled down a bit.
I'm glad you found the knot helpful, it's a good one and easy to tie. It's nice to be able to help other anglers out, lord knows I've had plenty of help along the way. I hope we can build a common love for the sport and the hater/bashing will go away. It's a good feeling being at an event or tournament and camaraderie is prevalent. No one should be giving the numbers out to the new wreck they found, but to share a tip or tactic will better someone else and generally come back for the good on yourself. I won't claim to know everything or be the best, but I love fishing and love to learn everything I can about it. For that reason alone I'm willing to share and help others fuel their passion.
I'll start by saying thanks for starting this thread. Its great for people getting into offshore fishing. My wife and I started 3 years ago and learned a lot from this forum and THT. Then it was all trial and error (still learning and having lots of fun)
My question is we have a great area out of Crystal River in 80' at a heading of about 255 that we fish two or three times a year around now for red grouper and it never lets us down for limits between 25" and 30". I was wondering if you know if that area was affected by the red tide before we make the long run out.
I think you are gonna be in good shape that far south. From what I've seen the worst appears to be north of 28 50 in 40-80'. If you aren't seeing what you like then I'd definitely work south instead of north.
We dropped a camera at several wrecks in 55-60 ft a few weeks ago. Other than a couple of sheepshead and a small number of AJs, it was depressing. The sponges and soft corals were gone for the hard areas. The flat rocks looked like the decks of an aircraft carrier. There was bait that looked like tomtates stacked up over some of the rocks. No grouper, hogs or grunts on the bottom. Just an occasional seabass. 47' and closer looked mostly fine with the live coral and sponges and the normal species of bottom fish.
It will be interesting to see how the recovery goes this summer. In the really dead areas it will take a while since there will be little to eat for many miles.
The Gag grouper were on fire west of Crystal river in 30' in November, but we never ran out past that. (didn't have to)
I think when we finally get out we will try out of Hernando Beach and head a little south and try between 60' and 90' (off of Hudson)
Has that area been affected ?
I'd be pulling Mann Stretch 30 (50's where deep enough) and Rap Mag 30's. Mainly Manns.
When gags were open in the spring in past years I would fish in the morning and we would troll for lunch and eat. I generally focused on 30'-60' doing this and had great success. It's a great way to find new bottom and chill out for an hour and eat.
Thanks for all the great info!!!
There is also a barge in 50' off cedar key that's somewhat public, it's a good spot for jacks and cobia as well. I'd have to dig through my numbers as I haven't been to it in years.
Depending on what size boat you have and what you're looking to do would dictate where I fished. If the two reefs sound good to you I'd hit those and then fish in 45' out from cedar key for grunts, rock bass, grouper, hogfish and kings.
Keep it simple, knocker rigs and live bait , sardines and cut bait. I fish 80 mainline and 80 leader inside of 100' and like 6/0 - 8/0 hooks. Usually use 6-8 oz of lead. Give a spot 20 minutes and if you aren't catching fish or seeing lots on your machine keep moving.
This type of fishing will keep your guests busy all day, the jacks look good in pics and the rest fills the coolers up. Good luck!
The #1 most important thing to a bottom fisherman is his bottom machine. If you master it you can lose all your numbers or fish from somewhere new and be confident you will catch fish. I can't stress this enough, it is the most important thing! There aren't any books or videos that really tell you how to do this. It's either trial and error or hire someone to show you. Once you get really good you can distinguish species, you can tell gags from reds. Mangos from red snapper and so on.
Each brand is different but ultimately show you the same thing. I'm a Furuno man, easy to dial in and paints a great picture as do their radars. Furuno is the only one I like when run on auto settings, I will only do this in water less than 100' though.
Basic bottom machine rules, 200khz inside of 400', whatever depth you're in turn the gain up until you see clutter then back off a hair. I like a white background, some people like blue or other colors, white paints the fish and the bottom better to me. If I'm hunting for small breaks or fishing deeper than 100' I always have one screen zoomed in to a 20-40' picture. If your machine has a bottom lock feature, use it. This will show fish only and no structure. Split the screen and run the other side normally. Learn to recognize the difference in sand and flat rock with no relief. A properly tuned machine will show everything while running 35mph. Big spots are great, but everyone can find them, learn to see the small stuff.
Tuning these things is a hands on deal, different units and different transducers act a little different from one to another. The most important thing is to pay good attention to it while moving and learn what different changes on the screen mean.
no, don't ignore the fish but bottom produces consistently.