Trolling for Red Grouper question??

We have a place down on Marco and I've fished Grouper out in the gulf for quite a few years. Our home is in MN and we also do quite a bit of salmon fishing on Lake Michigan using down riggers. I've always wondered that as flat as the bottom is why you couldn't run downriggers about 5-10 feet off the bottom and pull plugs that would dive about 5 feet. I know there's times where we'll go out and drift just looking for more good bottom.......but if trolling would work you could cover a lot more territory.

I know on a trip off of Key West we trolled in shallower water and caught some nice Gags.....but I was thinking a guy could go out in 75-100 feet with riggers and give the riggers a try. Anyone ever try this??

I also have a question about cast netting bait. We go out to the Marco tower and usually get as much bait as we need with a 12 foot radius net. But how do you get bait when you are not next to a piece of structure like that?? do you anchor and chum??

Just registered on this site so thanks for any replies - Dan Ward

Replies

  • SlackerSlacker Posts: 1,538 Captain
    In the big bend the reds don't hit plugs, the gags do.
  • Joe SnookJoe Snook Posts: 460 Deckhand
    whats up dward I may be drunk but that in no way discredits the words I'm typing. Being from IL we took quite a few trips to MN. I fished lake michigan alot all over. Boring as hell Once we discovered FL fishing over 20 yr.s ago. we always trolled spoons up there. i would say try it try anything that comes to your head. I've done alot of things that people say just wont work or thats not what we do down here and a few things have been successful. I would think the plug would pop the clip but i may be wrong I never tried it. as far as bait you could chum your chum Balls off, if its not around its not around. If theyre not on the inside Go on the outside and find structure to throw the net around once you mark them. good luck and have fun
    southwest florida fishing guide in the beautiful 10k islands, everglades and more www.Joesnook.com
  • GamekillaGamekilla Posts: 461 Officer
    Ill bet a nicely rigged ballyhoo would work wonders....
  • alloutallout Posts: 197 Deckhand
    reds usually don't go after trolling lures mostly just gags
  • corky.baileycorky.bailey Posts: 6 Greenhorn
    Slacker wrote: »
    In the big bend the reds don't hit plugs, the gags do.
    Have to ask what is probably a lame question for veterans in the area; where is the "big bend". We keep our boat at Cedar Bay at Marco in Jan/Feb and normally fish 3 days a week. Inshore if the weather doesn't allow us to get out. Did okay last year, our first year BTW, inshore but didn't have much luck in the off shore. Still hunting for the right holes,,,

    Appreciate you letting a novice lurk and learn.

    Corky
  • GamekillaGamekilla Posts: 461 Officer
    I believe the big bend is by the panhandle of Florida. North west Florida.
  • alloutallout Posts: 197 Deckhand
    yes big bend is basically the "Arm Pit" of florida panhandle and some of the best fishing I have ever seen!!! Miles of clear water flats full of trout and reds. Great offshore where in places you are in 100's of feet of water less than 5 miles offshore!! We go every year for a week of scalloping if we can.
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,436 Captain
    Nope. The Big Bend area is where the coast bends back in toward the east and then back west again on the NW Florida Peninsula. It runs from just north or Tarpon Springs to Apalachee Bay. It is a very shallow area that gets deeper only by about 1-2 ft per mile as you head west. There are lots of scattered rocks and hard flat areas that hold shallow water grouper. The gags start at about 7 ft and the reds become more common past 35 ft.

    Back to the original question. I used to catch plenty of reds by downrigger trolling between Tarpon Springs and Homosassa. The trick is to troll at much slower speeds than you would used for gags. Troll a big curly tailed jig at salmon speeds (2.0 - 2.5 mph) and you'll do fine. Most boats down here won't troll that slow.
  • corky.baileycorky.bailey Posts: 6 Greenhorn
    Nope. The Big Bend area is where the coast bends back in toward the east and then back west again on the NW Florida Peninsula. It runs from just north or Tarpon Springs to Apalachee Bay. It is a very shallow area that gets deeper only by about 1-2 ft per mile as you head west. There are lots of scattered rocks and hard flat areas that hold shallow water grouper. The gags start at about 7 ft and the reds become more common past 35 ft.

    Back to the original question. I used to catch plenty of reds by downrigger trolling between Tarpon Springs and Homosassa. The trick is to troll at much slower speeds than you would used for gags. Troll a big curly tailed jig at salmon speeds (2.0 - 2.5 mph) and you'll do fine. Most boats down here won't troll that slow.

    Thanks for the response Doc. We won't head that far north in Jan/Feb. Last year we seemed to focus more on the Little Marco Pass and Big Marco River working our way around to Cape Romano most of the time. Might try a little trolling along Cape Romano Island and Caxambas Pass.

    Thanks again, Corky
  • alloutallout Posts: 197 Deckhand
    yep.thats where I am talking about. stienhatchee, cedar key, keaton beach!! Basically the armpit of florida!!
  • tg.tg. Posts: 123 Deckhand
    Good luck trolling in the crab pot forest. I've caught one or two red grouper trolling, I don't do much of it anymore. If I troll this time of year it's for redfish. I've caught 30 pound redfish trolling 3 miles off the beach.
  • IndianoutlawIndianoutlaw Posts: 550 Officer
    The bomber CD30 and some other plugs work well in this area, you just have to try some different things to get them to the right depth. Most guys who troll deep use 50# to 60# braid to cut down on the resistance and 8' or so sections of 80# mono for a shock leader. You can get the plugs down to 65' or so, but have to put out a good bit of line out to get there. Some guys prefer the bigger Rapala's or others brands and you have to stay around 5 knots or so. I bet a naked or rigged ballyhoo would get crushed if put on a downrigger around some of our "swiss cheese" bottom or (red grouper) or structure (gag's)
    P1000022_2.jpg
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