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Trolling for grouper in Tampa Bay

Old 11-21-2014, 12:33 PM
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Hit the bridge north of skyway

let them take the bait
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Old 11-23-2014, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by StPeteWhaler View Post
Thanks for this, just a few follow-up questions. When you don't use a mono leader, do you tie the braid directly to the lure? Do I understand correctly that you use braid instead of mono b/c the braid gets the lure deeper than mono would? Lastly, are you going straight from mono to braid to lure without any swivels? Thanks again.
Now that I think about it, I usually I do use a couple feet of mono or fluoro leader. Don't need much. Spooking the fish is probably not a big issue when dragging an 8 inch plug at 4 mph behind a boat. As I have heard it explained, the grouper's predator drive kicks in when he hears the plug coming and he hits it right as it passes him, so there probably isn't much inspection going on. Water is pretty murky in the channel anyways.

The purpose of the braid top-shot is to get the lure deeper. Thinner line = less drag = deeper. That's also why I avoid a long leader and a bunch of hardware.

I go mono to braid to leader to lure, with no swivels. That's just personal preference. I can see where a snap on the end of the leader would be handy to remove the plugs for storage. Those dang treble hooks are always snagging something during loadout and cleanup.
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Old 11-24-2014, 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by StPeteWhaler View Post
Would someone be able to help me get in touch with Vance Tice? We're relatively new to the area (re-located from Boston where we mostly fished for stripers and blues) and want to learn the ins-and-outs for trolling in Tampa Bay. Contact info for Vance and/or other guides experienced in trolling the bay and shipping channel would be appreciated.
Vance used to work part time at the tackle store down from my house. Minnows and Monsters.....I will go by there today and see if he still works there and let you know.
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:07 PM
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Gag season ends tomorrow, so I managed to get out today. Was right at slack tide when a big container ship came by. I was circling to pull in behind it and got the biggest strike I have ever had. Took twenty minutes to muscle it in with a stout rod. Couldn't wait to see how big the fish was.

It was a damn ray of some kind. Huge. I cut the line and he wandered off with my $15 lure embedded in his wing.

Of course by then the ship was long gone, and I got skunked on gags.
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:48 PM
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Hey Ed54. I got skunked yesterday. I remembered your post as well. I saw the ship coming as I was west of the bridge. I headed back and pulled in behind but got nothing. It was nice to be out on the water. Nice to not be working
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Old 12-02-2014, 05:14 PM
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Based on the parking lot in the ship channel on Sunday I am gonna declare inside the bridge cashed out.
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Old 12-04-2014, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by 23Dorado View Post
Based on the parking lot in the ship channel on Sunday I am gonna declare inside the bridge cashed out.
LOL, I saw 3 boats anchored on the first channel buoy inside the bridge on Tuesday at noon. What do folks usually fish there for?
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Old 12-04-2014, 04:00 PM
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I just troll in circles until the Big-Uns come a swimming
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Old 09-21-2016, 09:18 AM
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Time of the year to bring this thread back life! Anyone had any luck trolling the bay lately?
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Old 09-21-2016, 09:56 AM
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Waiting for water temp to cool another 5 degree's. Then the big one's start showing up.
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:19 AM
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Heading out Friday to kill some time. BIL pulled a nice 28 inside Bay near apollo bch. last week.
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:22 AM
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Plan to troll for some grouper Saturday in between looking for kings for King of the Beach. Grouper tastes a lot better than kingfish.
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Old 11-04-2016, 08:23 AM
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Great Thread - any guides doing trips?
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:56 AM
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Probably try this weekend . Got all the king fish I need and haven't hit any groupers on the troll outside of TB
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Old 11-04-2016, 04:42 PM
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Gold and black bomber long A jointed
Depending on depth #2 or 3 planner with 30ft of 80# mono leader.
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Old 11-07-2016, 04:31 PM
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Went out Sunday on the inside of Skyway and trolled up 5 and put 3 on the deck with only 2 keepers gags. Was a good day ! Dinner was amazing !
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Old 11-07-2016, 05:53 PM
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Trolled forever on Saturday from Gandy to west of the skyway. Got one large Spanish and a tiny gag. Hit all of my old numbers that have always produced and we got blanked.
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Old 11-07-2016, 06:02 PM
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Saturday was not good for me either.....
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Old 11-07-2016, 06:11 PM
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I took my youngest daughter out for 3 hours Saturday and managed 3 grouper with one keeper (26"). We stayed west of the Skyway
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:49 AM
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Public service announcement:

Was in TFO today after being out of town for a couple of months and they shoved a flyer in my hands for a seminar that Vance Tice will be putting on there next Wednesday 11/16 and in St.Pete the following day.

I don't really do any trolling for Grouper inside the bay, and have not talked with Vance in quite a bit, but do know that he knows his stuff about this topic.

Last edited by mackerel; 11-10-2016 at 12:35 PM.
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