Triggerfish are getting ready to close for harvest starting May 2nd making end of day May first the last time to land them for 2020, unless the season gets extended due to lack of quota being landed. This is a discussion I have heard among the private rec and charter for hire fleet often as of late with all that’s going on in the world, but unfortunately I am here to say that it will most likely NOT be extended. Due to the virus the dockside intercepts and other integral parts of fishery surveys for the state and fed fisheries managers have ceased. That coupled with the fact the season was set based on projections of landings there is likely no possible way that the federal mangers will extend the gray triggerfish season this year. Hopefully, it will just mean more fish stay in the water and we get a stronger spawn for more fish down the road in the next stock assessment. Triggerfish are the biggest in deeper waters around 150-250ft of water, but you can catch them even near shore as shallow as 60-80ft of water. However, with their newly increased minimum size limit of fifteen inches to the fork you need almost a seventeen inch over all sized fish to be able to keep it which is a large triggerfish typically your going to get these guys in 120+ foot of water on small strips of squid or chunks of threadfin on your snapper set ups.
Mangrove snapper action has been going very well offshore with some truly large mangroves coming up around 120-180ft of water mixed in with big vermillions and the occasional yellow tail snapper too. Using the lighter tackle is a great option this time of year since gag grouper and red snapper are both closed. Around 30-40lb test and 5-6ot hooks would be my go-to set up for mangroves with double snelled hooks and a chunk of threadfin for bait.
Amberjack season is right around the corner! Jacks open up for the month of May only for a short period and were looking forward to going deep around 150-300ft to target these big fish on wrecks, springs and huge ledges or peaks once May rolls in. Big baits in the 1-3lb range and massive reels with 40-50lbs of drag or more and 100-120lb test and 10-12 ot hooks are the set ups I would look towards to land me a massive 70-100lb amberjack during this short season. They will also be open August, September, and October too but they bite best in cooler months so early May is going to be the best time to target the jacks.
Red grouper fishing around 100-140ft of water has been great this time of year on the backside of their spawn they are fat and hungry. However, now they are starting to thin up and move around a bit more. The biggest fish are around 120-180ft on the big potholes and smaller ledges and flat hard bottom with the bait shows.
Pelagic action with Tuna, kingfish and the occasional sailfish still going well offshore too. Never forget the flat line like mentioned in the near shore section while offshore fishing this time of year.