Summer offers offshore fishing opportunities for species like cobia, snapper, amberjack, gag and red grouper, hogfish and a host of other species.
Jack Crevalle are another species that can enter the mix offshore.
If you have an offshore vessel (or like me have friends that do) you’re in luck because some of the most delicious fish in all of Florida are readily available this time of year. If you can get out to a wreck, reef or just find some good hard bottom, you’re in for some rod bending, heart pounding action that will leave you itching for more.
Offshore Fishing Tactics
There are many ways to tackle these various species including trolling, bottom fishing and spearfishing. Many of the available species can be caught using multiple methods.
Trolling for groupers can just as easily result in a hook up with a cobia, amberjack, barracuda or shark. Similarly, bottom fishing for groupers can also result in hook ups with various other species.
Red grouper – it’s what’s for dinner.
**Note: Here’s a cheat code for you, FWC has a list of public numbers of wrecks and reefs that are published online, check it out!
Whatever method that you choose to employ, there is one common denominator – structure or hard bottom. Nearly all of these fish are structure oriented.
Being structure oriented means that these fish make their homes in sunken boats, ledges, caves sunken wreckage of airplanes and all manner of other underwater cover. Fish nearly always hang tight to these structure to find food and hide from predators.
In the game of offshore fishing on bottom fishing structures, if you’re 20 feet off a spot you may as well be a mile off the spot. While there are certainly exceptions at times, you really want to be as close to the structure as possible.
Things to Remember
This being the case, a good bottom machine is essential to know where both you and the fish are. Just prepare yourself to lose tackle because fishing close to structure provides a multitude of ways for a fish to cut or break you off.
A word of caution, the offshore game requires taking certain precautions as well as practicing etiquette. This is especially true when there are divers in the water.
Make sure if you’re diving that you fly a dive flag to let other boats know there are people in the water and can prevent serious accidents. If you see boats flying dive flags stay at least 300 feet away.
Other safety precautions including always checking your radio, batteries, and all other electronics to make sure that they’re functioning properly. Also having an EPIRB and doubles of everything. Also pay special attention to the weather as it can turn very quickly offshore and turn dangerous.
Aside from safe fishing practices, be sure to use proper etiquette. The ocean is huge, there’s more than one piece of rubble and structure down there.
If you get to a spot and see someone already fishing there give them a great deal of space or move on completely. There’s no reason to fish right on top of another boat – find another pile or go to the opposite end of the wreck.
Remember your etiquette, be safe, follow all the laws set down by FWC and have fun! Offshore fishing is awesome!
Until next time, Tight Lines.