In 1970 the fishing in the eastern Gulf was fantastic. The mullet were prolific all over the Tampa Bay area. Kingfish were large and numerous in the spring and fall and there were so many grouper in shallow water that they were considered a nuisance fish during kingfish season. There were such large schools of Spanish sardines, scaled sardines, threadfin herring, and menhaden that you could seemingly walk on them from one side of Tampa Bay to the other……
There are almost as many sharks in the Gulf of Mexico as there are species of sharks in the Atlantic. As a matter of fact, somewhere in the Gulf, there has probably been caught at least one of every shark that lives in the Atlantic, north of the equator. There are stories, and in some cases pictures of great white sharks caught in the Gulf….
There are many ways to fish for pompano and you have a good chance of catching them if you just use some common sense and have a little knowledge about their habits. If you have a shallow draft skiff, you can find pompano schools fairly easily. Run along the beaches, close to the swash channel, on full plane and have someone watch your wake for pompano “skipping”. They have a tendency to jump out of the water when frightened and skip along the surface on their side. ….
No one that’s ever hooked one of these hundred-plus pound ballistic missiles wants to hear anything negative about them, though. From that first searing run to the series of acrobatic twists and turns that characterize their fighting style, the tarpon is a prototypical gamefish. In suncoast waters, they commonly reach 150 lb., but the world record is nearly 300.
There is no such thing as sea monsters, but there are indeed critters of monstrous proportions that live in the sea. We feature one such denizen of the deep here – easily the largest fish (other than sharks) regularly found in Florida Suncoast waters. Although jewfish have been closed to harvest for several years now, fishermen and divers still encounter them on a fairly regular basis…..
The white grunt (Haemulon plumieri); also known as “grunt”, “pigfish” and, if you’re a grouper fisherman – “oh jeez, not another *%*&$# grunt”. One of the suncoast’s oldest party boat owners, Captain Hubbard, way back in the 50’s I think, coined the name gray snapper for the white grunt, “cause snapper sounds fancier than grunt”. So anytime you’re on a party boat in the mid Florida west coast area, you’re catching ‘gray snapper”. This smallish denizen of the Gulf rockpiles doesn’t get much respect from fishermen intent on wrestling grouper and snapper from their favorite holes…
Trigger fish are abundant in the Gulf of Mexico and thank goodness, not everyone is aware of how good they taste or what fun they are to catch. There are two trigger fish that are common in Florida’s waters, the queen trigger and the gray trigger. Ours in the middle and upper Gulf is the gray trigger. They can be found year round in our area and they live on just about any rocky or coral encrusted bottom….
Those jailhouse stripes adorning our featured subject mark his character well. Meet the sheepshead – truly a bait thief of the first order. Old-timers will tell you that in order to hook a sheepie, you need to set the hook “just before he breathes on your bait.” Maybe that’s taking things to extremes, but frustration can definitely abound when you encounter a bunch of these delicious critters…..