Offshore Information, Adventures and Conditions

Friday, September 25, 2009

Trolling Strip Baits for Kingfish And Grouper

Every year during the fall months the jacks begin to school inshore. As the jacks start schooling inshore the kingfish begin their migration south.

Jacks are easy to catch and they do make great strip baits for trolling. They are also very tough bait good for at least a couple of hours of trolling. And the strip baits make great grouper bait.

Cutting out the strip bait.
When cutting out the strip bait the end result needs to be streamlined and symmetrical. Otherwise your bait will spin and the only thing you'll catch is a big knot in your line. The first step is to fillet both sides of the jack, cutting through the bones.

Now you will need to thin out the fillet by cut against the grain (from the tail end to the head end). You will want the fillet about 1/4 in thick.

If the jack is small you might only get one bait per side. This jack is big enough for two baits from each side.
Next cut the general shape of the strip bait from the fillet, tapering the shape as you get closer to the tail end. Now start refining the shape cutting away any irregular edge.

Once you have the shape and thickness of the strip bait you will need to make a small cut near the top of the bait. This is needed for rigging.

To rig the bait, the easiest leader to use is wire. It will also keep the kingfish from cutting the line.

To use the bait for bottom fishing, slide the hook through the small cut at the top of the bait then stick the hook through the boat about half way down. This will let the bait flutter in the current and drive the grouper crazy.

Storing Strip Baits
The best part about this type of bait, is that it freezes very well. If I am planning on storing a lot of baits I will usually salt the meat sides and lay them flat in a freezer bag with 4 baits per bag. Since I plan on using these this week, I just put them in a sandwich bag and put them in the freezer.

The best thing about the strip baits is they are very tough and the kingfish and grouper love them (if you are really adventurous, the tuna, dolphin and sailfish like them too). The big bonus is that you can catch all the jacks you want and have fun doing it.

Good Luck

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Time for Shallow Water Grouper Fishing

This is my most favorite time of the year. The grouper have started moving in closer as the weather cools. It is always nice to be able to run out 8 miles and catch my 2 grouper instead of running 80 miles. Save a lot of time and gas money.

In my area there are two of natures signs that tells me when the grouper begin to move in to the shallow water. The first is the cooler nights and the passing of the first cold front. You would not really know it but that just happened. The second is the deer go in to pre-rut and you will start to see many does hanging around the roads. When you start to see the deer, it time to start grouper fishing.

Many people have different definition of shallow water grouper fishing. Some may think 20-25 ft or 15-20 ft. Think shallower, I have many rocks in 6-8ft water where we tend to catch decent size fish (25-30 inch) in Sept, Oct and Nov.

For those who may not be aware of the recent changes in the grouper regulations.
New federal regulations for shallow-water grouper species in the Gulf of Mexico took effect May 18, 2009.

Current Recreational Regulations
- Gag, Black, Red Grouper -
(State and Federal Waters)

State and Federal Waters of the Gulf of Mexico (Except Monroe County) *




Minimum Size Limit

22" TL

22" TL

20" TL

Bag Limit

up to 2 Gag within the 4 grouper aggregate

up to 4 Black within the 4 grouper aggregate

up to 2 Red within the 4 grouper aggregate

Closed Season**

Feb and March

Feb and March

Feb and March


charter captain/crew - zero bag limit

Good Luck, Stay Legal and Safe

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