“OK” Hogfish Action Nearshore

hogfish
04/26/2020

Hogfish action still going okay near shore, but it has definitely slowed a bit lately as the water is clearing up and warming up too. They get more leader shy and less aggressive and they see more divers swimming down and shooting their buddies this time of year. You can still catch them all through the year from around 30-40ft up to around 70-90ft of water fairly consistently, but the best action is around October until early April depending on the cold fronts and weather. Lighter tackle is important this time of year to get em to cooperate. When we start fishing again around 20lb is going to get you the best opportunity for bites while 30lb would be the max you would attempt for hogfish. During cooler months typically 30-40lb is what we use for these fish on our leader strength. Around 3-4ot hooks still best with the lightest possible weights for the most premium natural presentation.

Snapper fishing has been good near shore in the deeper area past 60ft of water. Typically, near shore is up to 20 miles or up to around 100ft of water by definition so its great to see snapper fishing so hot inside that area. Offshore they get bigger for sure, but the lane snapper fishing is best near shore. Mangroves are biting well too around this depth range of 60-100ft.

Red grouper action is going well around the deepest near shore waters, but they are bigger and more plentiful a little deeper offshore. However, were seeing some good numbers and action inside the 100ft mark as shallow as around 70ft of water on squid strips, live pinfish, big threadfins and the occasional buck tail large soft plastic. Hard bottom potholes and swiss cheese is the best places to hunt these red groupers where you see the bait shows up in the water column.

Cobia are showing up more and more around the area near shore and offshore. These guys love to eat a tail hooked pinfish that you flip out there to them on a pitch rod you have rigged and ready in a rod holder while bottom fishing. Never forget your pitch rods when near shore or offshore fishing but spring and fall its even more important as pelagic action is typically at its peak.

Tuna action is going well near shore around the deeper parts. However, they can be sporadic and tough to find super consistently but those cruise ships sitting in 60-100ft have been a great place to start off the Egmont key channel. These guys love the rapala xrap magnum trolling plugs in the more natural color patterns, but you can catch them vertical jigging or flat lining the tail hooked pinfish or threadfin too. For cobia and tuna, around 40-50lb floro leader with around a 4-5ot single circle hook is my favorite set up for the flat line/pitch rod. Many use the kingfish stinger rig for all flat line or pitch rod set ups but for the cobia and tuna a floro leader is best, but your playing a dangerous game if a kingfish grabs it because it won’t stand up often to their toothy mouths.

Kingfish and mackerel are still thick near shore too, but we are approaching that time of year when they start to dwindle. Each front prolongs their stay a bit longer but as the fronts get further apart and weaker and weaker the water will continue to warm and the kingfish will move north out of the area, or west to deeper water where they can find the right temperatures to chill out for the hottest part of our summer before they run back by us to head south for the winter.

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