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Thursday, Apr 24, 2014
Go Fishing

Hogfish have been hot target offshore

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GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Bill Miller.

Hogfish continue to provide good action for anglers offshore. Rocky ledges in 40 to 50 feet along the Bay area coast are holding good numbers of the hogfish, sometimes called hog snapper.

Captain Steve Bonnel and his charters have been tearing them up off Clearwater. Bonnel likes to use shrimp on a knocker rig. Just enough weight to get to the bottom and a hook size that can be hidden in the shrimp are the keys for success.

One of Bonnel’s anglers caught a hogfish with two tails. Each tail was perfectly formed, with one on the top and the other on the bottom.

Hubbard’s Marina at John’s Pass reports that flounder fishing has been outstanding along the jetty. Shrimp fished on the bottom have been getting the flounder and some big sheepshead.

The 5-hour boats are catching red grouper and grunts on squid and hogfish on shrimp.

Spanish mackerel are being caught by anglers free-lining or fishing shrimp under a cork. Long-shank hooks work best to prevent cut-offs from the mackerel’s sharp teeth.

Pompano have been on fire at the Skyway fishing piers. Vertical jigging with pompano jigs and teaser flies has produced limit catches of big pompano.

Silver spoons and Gotcha plugs are all you need to catch mackerel at the piers. Plenty of greenbacks are around the piers, and they also can be used for bait.

Speckled trout is the attention-getter in St. Joseph Sound. Captain Brian Caudill has been drifting the grass flats using paddle-tail jigs and jerk-tail jigs, and catching big numbers of trout.

Jumbo live shrimp have been getting a few big gator trout around the spoil islands.

For more information, visit www.fishingwithbillmiller.com. To book a charter with captain Bill or his son captain Billy, call (813) 363-9927.

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