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Grouper Grouper and Grouper

Capt. Little Jim Fesperman
December 17, 2009
Tampa Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report

Grouper Grouper and Grouper

Tuesday, the fog stayed offshore giving us a "Chamber of Commerce "day inshore. Dale and Elaine vacationing from Northwestern Alberta Canada had all the sunshine and 80 º temperatures they came south to experience. When I told them we would target inshore grouper and snapper they found it hard to believe we could do this inshore. I assured them that we would never venture into the gulf. Today was a special tide day in that we only had one a low tide at 7:45 AM and no high tide at all.

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Five minutes from the ramp we started trolling. Within 15 minutes of first dropping a plug in the water Dale had his first grouper of the day, a nice 21 inch Gag Grouper. After another 15 minutes of trolling we gave up on that spot because of the excessive floating mats of weeds fouling our plugs. We then started working some of my inshore rock piles and a few docks. Dale hooked another nice 19 inch grouper on the "bike reef". Then we moved on to one of my favorite docks. Dale again hooked up first with a big 5 or 6 lb Sheepshead that bit a select shrimp. I moved us around to the other side of the dock and it turned in to the "Elaine show" as she began to hook up on just about every cast with 15 to 20 inch gag grouper and a few very nice snapper. She put on a clinic catching over a dozen plus fish to her husbands 2 fish. We next took a shore lunch break and saw a big manatee before heading out to a pelican rookery to look for redfish. The redfish were not home so we went a couple of miles and once again began trolling our plugs. This time Dale hooked up first with another 21 inch gag.

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I was working very hard to get Elaine a big gag when Dale hooked up again with a 20 inch fish. Then all of a sudden it happened, Elaine's rod bent and the reel began to scream loudly. By the time I kicked the boat out of gear her rod had a steady bend and no sign of a fish on the other end. One of two things may have happened, either the plug hung on some obstruction on the bottom or the grouper had found a hole or rock to get under. I took the rod and motored back to the spot keeping the line tight all the time thinking that we had hooked the bottom. Once the boat was over the hung plug I put slack in the line and less than a minute I could feel the head shake of a fish. I tightened the line and I could tell that it was a big boy as the rod once again bent double and jumped like a bucking horse. I tried to hand the rod back to Elaine but she wanted nothing to with this fish. Once the grouper was onboard it measured 24 inches.

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End of a great day of fishing on the West Coast of Florida for two cold Canadian visitors. The couple gave the Captain the catch because Dale is allergic to some sea food and didn't want to take a chance and ruin the balance of their vacation which meant that the captain and his family had a great dinner of gag grouper, snapper and sheepshead. I can not begin to tell those that have never had the opportunity to eat real fresh caught seafood how outstanding it tastes.

Captain Little Jim Fesperman

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Captain Little Jim is a professional full-time Guide on beautiful Tampa Bay. Targeting Redfish, Snook, Trout, Tarpon and what’s biting today. Fishing the flats of the bay means never a sea sick customer. Captain Little Jim will put his 50 years of fishing Tampa Bay to work helping you catch fish. His charters are instructional and most of all fun for the young people to the not so young. The fish are biting “Let’s go fishing.

Contact Info:

Hook Setting Charters, LLC
2613 Heron Lane north
Clearwater, FL 33762
Phone: 727-515-8196
Alt. Phone: 727-515-3689
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