Skip to main content
Home West Central General Fishing & The Outdoors

Sarasota offshore 4/16- groupers and APs

bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,098 Officer
Had a killer day out with In 2 Deep charters out of Sarasota. Wanted to target African pompano while they're in shallower water for their spawn, then get some fat RG for the box, as well as give my new jigging setup a workout. Our crew boated 7 APs over a spring in 150', with the largest around 30-35 lbs. Highlight of the trip was a quad hookup of APs, with my rod sadly being the only one that didn't get doubled over. Kept 2 of them, released a bunch of AJs, and added a few fat yellowtails and average mangroves to the box. Also got a bonus big yellow jack, adding another new species to my list and to the fish box. Moved inshore to a few bottom spots in 120-130', and boxed 7 RG plus a pile of lanes and mangos. Lots of 20-22" grouper, plus 3 fatties to 28". Got a real nice one on the jig, which was quite a lot of fun. Ended up catching 90% of my fish on jigs, very happy with the new setup. Even had a double hookup with an ARS and undersized RG on the same jig. Capt. Dustin was super laid back and knowledgeable, and we ended up with a huge mess of fillets. Didn't quite get our limit of grouper, but given the hours spent on the APs and AJs I was pretty happy with that. Amazing day out, can't wait to get back out there with Dustin for gags and ARS in June.




Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.

Replies

  • CaptainBlyCaptainBly Posts: 2,651 Captain
    Gorgeous.  Nice work.
    In Loving Memory of James Zielske, January 19, 1957-July 5, 2013
  • Crkr23Crkr23 MelrosePosts: 375 Deckhand
    APs, my favorite fish to eat.
    Good Job!
  • releasegearreleasegear Posts: 906 Officer
    awesome!
    bornoffshore-sig.jpg

    Mike Wilhite - Fisherman/President

    Born Offshore Gear
    www.bornoffshore.com

    'Performance Fishing Apparel'
  • hook_emhook_em Posts: 281 Deckhand
  • Mackeral SnatcherMackeral Snatcher Posts: 12,787 AG
    Lots of good eating there.
    THERE SHOULD BE NO COMMERCIAL FISHING ALLOWED FOR ANY SPECIES THAT IS CONSIDERED OVERFISHED.
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 3,449 Moderator
    Some monster APs, wowza, nice fish overall.
  • MangroveMarkMangroveMark Oak HillPosts: 488 Deckhand
    Great catch! Thanks for sharing.
  • TennesseeDaveTennesseeDave Posts: 334 Deckhand
    Can you give any advice on catching the APs?  Are they at the bottom or higher?  I heard they are usually below the AJs.  Did you catch them on jigs?  If so, was it fast jigging or slow pitch?
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,098 Officer
    edited April 20 #10
    Can you give any advice on catching the APs?  Are they at the bottom or higher?  I heard they are usually below the AJs.  Did you catch them on jigs?  If so, was it fast jigging or slow pitch?
    Disclaimer, this is not from my own extensive experience, just what I picked up from our captain and a bunch of research (150 ft is normally further than I can get out so APs are generally not really on my target list). But here you go:

    First off, they're only this aggregated in (relatively) shallow water a few months each year, generally February-April, but a few can be found year round. They love a lot of the same habitat that AJs do, springs/wrecks/etc. We were fishing whole squid on 6/0 circle hook Carolina rigs, with about 8-9 ft of 40lb fluoro since they've got fantastic eyesight. Same size sinker as you'd use for a traditional grouper rig at whatever depth you're fishing. The squid works mostly because you aren't gonna get many bites from AJs on it, which can definitely be an issue since they're usually found together. Start off fishing the squid maybe 20 ft of the bottom, but if you have multiple anglers it might be good to try a variety of depths to see which one is the ticket. We got our first couple bites about 10 cranks from the bottom, and the rest were right down on the bottom. They'll eat live pins, whitebait, shrimp, jigs, etc, but just be ready to weed through the AJs or snappers to get to them that way. Also heard of a lot of captains fishing the squid on a chicken rig with a super long leader as well. 

    After the first bite or two it was easier to distinguish APs vs AJs by the fight. They'd bulldog or run down like an AJ sometimes, but would always go into a spiral pattern like a tuna after a while. The big ones all ran straight out from the boat when hooked, which was another giveaway. Also- they're schooling fish this time of year, so the bites are often gonna come in short bursts. We had lulls of 30-40 minutes with no bites, followed by multiple rods getting bit within 20 seconds. 

    Overall I was shocked at how consistent the fishing for them was when we got the pattern dialed in. Definitely going to try it out over some of my own deeper bottom spots when I get the chance. 
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,098 Officer
    Some monster APs, wowza, nice fish overall.
    Lost one around the same size as the biggest one right at boatside during that quad hookup. Also lost another one that we didn't see but that the captain was certain was an absolute monster, 40+ lbs. Truly incredible day. 
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,098 Officer
    Crkr23 said:
    APs, my favorite fish to eat.
    Good Job!
    Definitely up there for me now. Super unique texture, can't compare it to much else. 
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,098 Officer
    Lots of good eating there.
    Easter dinner spread, seared AP with chimichurri plus yellow jack sashimi. Roasted potatoes, brussel sprouts, and herb aioli on the side. Killer eats
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • TennesseeDaveTennesseeDave Posts: 334 Deckhand
    Thank you so much!  Great looking dinner!
  • mudflatmarkmudflatmark tampa, clearwater, cape san BlasPosts: 7 Deckhand
    That one AP is world class. much fun was had nice box.
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,098 Officer
    Thanks! I was crazy jealous when I saw that thing come up for sure.
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,098 Officer
    Can you give any advice on catching the APs?  Are they at the bottom or higher?  I heard they are usually below the AJs.  Did you catch them on jigs?  If so, was it fast jigging or slow pitch?
    Also, for what it's worth, I was slow pitch jigging there for the first hour or so. Quit after breaking my back on 3 AJs and losing 3 jigs to all the cudas down there. Have heard of some people getting APs on them though, might just have been an unlucky day.
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Advertisement

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now