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Gag Me...

Old 12-04-2017, 09:47 AM
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I am getting frustrated about our continued failure to catch a legal Gag. We generally fish in the Sarasota / Bradenton/ St Pete area. Red Groupers - no problem, ARS - no Problem, Inshore stuff, not a problem. Heck we even caught a couple Wahoo that we were not targeting. (West Palm Beach)

The only Gags in the last 2 years for trying for us were juveniles. We have tried the wrecks and public numbers, the skyway shipping channel and any lumps we find when blindly looking for a spot to fish. We are not looking to get someones numbers, but we are at a loss on how to "discover" our own. We usually lose patience when idling around for a 3 hours hoping to find a ledge or rock pile. We end out fish hard bottom and catch the Red Groupers and assorted snappers. I understand this time of year they are in closer, but still no luck for us. Any guidance?
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Old 12-04-2017, 11:24 AM
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I usually catch mine with a spear so not a lot of great advice hook and line. I'm told they are more likely to bite live bait like pinfish or sardine. Currently, they are just about everywhere we dive which means more in 30-40 feet then they are when the water is warm. I wouldn't count on getting gags off public numbers and wrecks. Not to say they wouldn't be there but those areas get fished hard because everyone knows about them. You might try trolling stretch 25's and 30's in 40 feet of water until something hits. I know guys that catch gags that way and then mark the spot and find that it's a good fishing spot.
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:53 PM
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They're probably in the same spots as the red grouper and ARS. What are you using for bait? If you haven't tried live pinfish, get the biggest pinfish you can find and drop it to the bottom in the same spots you're catching the other stuff. Gags can't resist a big old pinfish.

Last edited by acme54321; 12-04-2017 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 12-04-2017, 03:08 PM
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Looks like you need to head further south -

Need Help With Chum
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Old 12-04-2017, 03:13 PM
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Gag me. That's what she said.






I don't have anything else to say.
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Old 12-04-2017, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Chumly View Post
We usually lose patience when idling around for a 3 hours hoping to find a ledge or rock pile.
It would be really difficult to idle around in the Gulf for 3 hours and not find a ledge or rockpile, unless you were deliberately looking in an area known to be pure sand bottom. If you are even close to productive waters you will come across something, and if not then it is because you don't know what to look for on your sonar.

I suggest that you start by reading Grouperking's thread on reading your sonar then go practice what you learn.

What my bottom machine looks LIKE!! <---UPDATED

Edit: Don't look for the big ledges, everyone knows where they are. Look for the little 2-3' breaks that get a lot less pressure.
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Old 12-04-2017, 03:51 PM
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Ledges. Not live bottom. You need to be able to differentiate the two on your finder.
If you catch decent sized mangrove snapper, you’ll catch gags at some point.
This time of year troll plugs and mark where you get bit or even just snagged up.
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Old 12-04-2017, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by mackerel View Post
It would be really difficult to idle around in the Gulf for 3 hours and not find a ledge or rockpile, unless you were deliberately looking in an area known to be pure sand bottom. If you are even close to productive waters you will come across something, and if not then it is because you don't know what to look for on your sonar.

I suggest that you start by reading Grouperking's thread on reading your sonar then go practice what you learn.

What my bottom machine looks LIKE!! <---UPDATED

Edit: Don't look for the big ledges, everyone knows where they are. Look for the little 2-3' breaks that get a lot less pressure.
Agree with the edit, it doesn't take much.

What bottom machine are you using and how do you have it set up?
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Old 12-04-2017, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Marlin009 View Post
Agree with the edit, it doesn't take much.

What bottom machine are you using and how do you have it set up?
Simrad NSS 9 EVO2

Default settings / 83/200 ducer


Thanks for the link
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Old 12-05-2017, 07:46 AM
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If it makes you feel any better, I've not caught a keeper gag in 2 yrs fishing out to 110ft from Sarasota.
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:16 AM
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Honestly I'm surprised at this post. Gags are everywhere right now. I caught my limit before noon trolling plugs in 45' of water yesterday. I trolled over known ledges but got the biggest bites over sandy bottoms. Machine didn't show anything?

My diving days says that they stack up on ledges, which is true. But they hold in other places also if there is a lot of pressure.

Your just slumping like a MLB batter I suppose. Keep at it and you will find them. I've been there....
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:41 AM
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as mentioned before, learn to read your bottom machine, start reading up on how to troll plugs such as mann's stretch plugs.

last- stay away from public numbers and wrecks. they are usually fished out unless your very experienced and know how to convince an occasional big fish out of it, but he didn't get big by being dumb
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Old 12-05-2017, 08:45 PM
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Trolling plugs right now is where it's at. Stay shallow..40ft 30 ft..20ft
Troll bog lipped plugs like strech 30 or use a # 3 planner with 25ft 60-80# leader tied to a gold and black jointed (broke back) bomber long A.
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Old 12-06-2017, 04:20 AM
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Gags are by far the most astute grouper so don't feel bad plus they aren't in volume like reds nor do they grow like blacks. Ever try to spear one? On east coast they have a PHD in disco. First sound you make they boogie.
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Old 12-06-2017, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by grouperkng View Post
Trolling plugs right now is where it's at. Stay shallow..40ft 30 ft..20ft
Troll bog lipped plugs like strech 30 or use a # 3 planner with 25ft 60-80# leader tied to a gold and black jointed (broke back) bomber long A.
This^^^^

More than half the numbers I have in shallow water have come from winter time trolling.
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Old 12-06-2017, 05:20 AM
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Going to go spank some today before the front. Should be perfect.
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Old 12-06-2017, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Marlin009 View Post
Going to go spank some today before the front. Should be perfect.
Today would be the day. I was gonna but got hung up with a repair at the house.
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Old 12-06-2017, 08:26 AM
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Would a 1 lb trolling lead placed about 20 ft in front of a stretch 30 get the bait down much further? Like 40-50ft?
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Old 12-06-2017, 08:50 AM
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I guess, but why not just get a Stretch 40 or one of the new XRAP 40's instead. They are absolutely not too big.
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Old 12-06-2017, 09:25 AM
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Spool a couple of your grouper rigs with braid for trolling plugs and those strech 30s & 35s will do fine in 40 to 50 ft of water.
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