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High winds spoil another weekend
Posted Feb 13, 2012 by Tribune Sports
Updated Feb 13, 2012 at 04:30 PM
BY RANDY ROCHELLE
Just when you thought winter was over it was safe to go back offshore, another strong front rolls though and blows out another weekend. As of now, the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday look decent, but by Friday the wind may pick back up.
Mangrove snapper should continue to be a good bet for those willing to burn the fuel to run out to the 90-foot-plus mark. Places to target will be wrecks, areas of hard live bottom, rock piles and the Pipe. Recent reports from divers say there good numbers of mangos on ledges in 40 to 70 feet of water, but most are smaller fish. They also reported that the gags are stacked up, which is good news when the season reopens in July. On a recent trip to a wreck in 50 feet of water, we found schools of cigar minnows, a few small snapper, short amberjack and lots of little grouper, but little in the way of anything to put in the bow. For those who like to dive, you shouldn’t have too much trouble bagging a limit of hog snapper in 40 to 60 feet.
Before this latest front blew threw, I was thinking we might have an early kingfish run as schools of bait fish have started to show up. Although waters temperatures dipped back down a bit, they will quickly rebound if we see more of those nearly 80-degree days. Then maybe, just maybe, we’ll start seeing a few kings show up in late February or early March. Until then, mangrove snapper and amberjack will be a good bet, though you more than likely will have to burn a little fuel to get out to where they are.
Capt. Randy Rochelle runs the “Gotta Go” out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 365-3218.