Recent weeks have provided light winds and calm seas with little rain.
As a result, flats and bay boats can get offshore to tug on big reef species.
Capt. Josh Prunier of RippinLips LLC has taken advantage.
His 24-foot Carolina Skiff Semi-V is by no means an offshore boat, but with the calm conditions he’s been able to run offshore up to 20 miles and target Gulf of Mexico silver.
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“It’s been flat calm. It’s been almost too calm because it get’s hot with no wind,” Prunier said. “There are a lot of fish out right now.”
Prunier has been hitting many not-so secret reefs and wrecks, where he’s been experiencing world class permit fishing to go with the normal bottom species of snapper and grouper. With so many pass crabs recently flushing out of the bay to offshore waters, the permit have been hungry, allowing anglers like Prunier to target the drag pullers.“I always fish crabs. Mostly pass crabs, occasionally blue crabs and some shrimp. When I don’t use the pass crabs I’ll freeze them and use them for chum, and have even caught permit on dead crabs.”
For rigging he’s been using about six feet of 30-pound fluorocarbon and a 3/0 circle hook on an 8-foot rod allowing him to cast further. Medium or heavy spinners able to handle 30- to 40-pound braid are best, as Prunier has caught fish bigger than 30 pounds in recent weeks.
“The water has been very clean recently. This week we would see the outline of Doc’s Barge. At times you can look down in the water and see the permit swimming around.”
Lying in 60 feet of water about 12 miles offshore, Doc’s Barge is one of the many large wrecks that permit are known to hang around. There are other large wrecks holding fish, but know that the more pressure that permit receive the more difficult they are to get to feed. Be out early before other boats for the best shot. And when the other anglers aren’t the problem, it’s the predators from below that can make fishing difficult.
“The goliath grouper at the 7-mile reef are so aggressive, I stopped fishing for permit there. We can’t even get a fish in at times,” Prunier said. “They’ve been protected for so long and have no enemies, and now destroy everything else on the reef. I’ve had them up by the boat as I’m lifting fish in at times.”
Prunier can be reached at (941) 580-7363.
Source: U.S. Naval Observatory data