Capt. Joel Gant
May 9, 2016
Hernando Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
Finally, its the time all you "fish heads" have been waiting for, Gag grouper season is open. I believe that Hernando Beach is one of the best areas to catch grouper anywhere. You can now keep 2 per person, but the size limit will increased to 24 inches. Recreational season is expected to change to June 1 through Dec. 31. Sounds like a give and take situation, giving us almost 2 extra months but increasing the size limit. As always, check the regulations before you go out, they can and do change frequently.
As far as catching gag grouper, I like to troll plugs or bottom drop either dead bait, cut bait or using live bait like pinfish, sand perch or pig fish. With bottom fishing use a heavy enough weight to hold your bait with the current on the bottom. Use a 7/0 or 8/0 circle hook, 60 - 80 LB line and a very stout rod and reel. Just remember with circle hooks, you do not set the hook, just reel. Let the fish do the hook setting.
When anchored and bottom fishing, go ahead and put out a free lined bait for kingfish or maybe cobia. I also like to start out my clients fishing with light tackle for white grunts, hog fish or snappers. Doing this will start a feeding frenzy which will draw bigger fish to see what the commotion is all about.
Keep an eye out for cobia. We have been getting them inshore to offshore. If you see one come by, have a rig already set up so you can cast to them really quick. Cobia seem to be a curious fish. They will swim by or come up from structure. They usually are not too picky about what they eat. Keep it moving, they like to chase and attack their prey. Again, have heavy tackle if you plan on landing a keeper. These fish are solid fighters all the way to and into the boat. I recommend working the fish till you tire it out before bringing it onboard. If your not sure if its legal ( 33 inches to the fork) net it rather than gaffing.
Get out there on the water and make some memories with friends and family!
Capt. Joel Gant operates Fishdaddy Charters out of Hernando Beach, he knows the local waters like the back of his hand, and works both inshore and offshore trips. Check him out on face book or you can reach him at (352) 279-1615 visit his website, www.fishdaddycharter.com
More Fishing Reports: