Captain Steve Papen

By December 22, 2015Capt's. Corner

During these typically cold and windy months anglers have a hard time getting the weather to cooperate with trips offshore.  There are so many tools available to assist us in picking the best days to be out there.  Weather forecasting apps on all of our phones help, but other resources such as “real-time buoy data” and beach facing “webcams” also will help make your decisions easier.

Opportunities- Red Grouper are on track for another banner year for us here in the eastern Gulf. We are consistently finding good numbers of fish in the 70-130 ft range that are more than willing to take just about any offering. On a recent trip to 100 feet we only had to fish 2 stops in order to secure a quick boat limit of these tasty Grouper. The fish crushed both love and frozen baits as soon as they hit the bottom. Typical “Digging Gear” in the 50-80 lb range will get the job done as these fish reside in areas with a very low profile, so there shouldn’t be too much for them to get into down there.

Other species- Snapper fishing will continue to stay steady for a while. Recent trips to depths of 50-75 feet have been rewarded with Mangrove, Yellow-tail, and Lane Snapper. My personal preference for targeting these keen eyes fish is whats called “free falling”. There are a few variations of this particular style, some of which include the use of a small 1/4-1/2 oz. jig head tipped with either shrimp or cut bait, while others are more of a free lined bait with no lead at all. The key is chumming just enough to get the Snapper off of the bottom but, don’t over do it too much as this will cause the chum to make it all the way to the bottom and keep the fish down. Lighten your leader as much as needed to ensure a bite, even dropping as low as 15 lb to keep it stealthy.

– Tampa Bay Times

Capt. Steve Papen
Fintastic Fishing Charters

Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 or

Located in Madeira Beach, Fintastic Fishing Charters offers Offshore Fishing for King Mackerel, Barracuda, Grouper, Snapper, Tarpon and Spanish Mackerel. Florida Fishing at it Best. Deep Sea Fishing is enjoyed most with one of the best Florida Charter Captains on the West Coast of Florida.