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anyone trolling the steps or elbow or middle grounds in the gulf?

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anyone trolling the steps or elbow or middle grounds in the gulf?

Old 07-09-2011, 06:02 PM
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We're heading out to the middle grounds this weekend and the Elbow next weekend. MG trip is for the snapper, and red grouper.

The Elbow trip is what I'm really looking forward to. Full moon wahoo bite, hopefully with a side of BF tuna, Mahi and Sailfish.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Shaft View Post
We're heading out to the middle grounds this weekend and the Elbow next weekend. MG trip is for the snapper, and red grouper.

The Elbow trip is what I'm really looking forward to. Full moon wahoo bite, hopefully with a side of BF tuna, Mahi and Sailfish.
Where are you launching from and do you need any help? Have plenty of money for gas and can provide some bulk ice and baits. Have all my own gear and won't be any trouble for you! 24 year Navy man!
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:39 PM
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There must be 2 different Steps and Elbows, one set for the west coast guys, one set for the gulf coast guys. Good luck out there!
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Old 02-02-2014, 12:19 PM
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Thought I would revive this old thread. Anyone out of St. Pete. making this trip Elbow/Steps?
I have a small boat but have 326 gal on board with close to 2 mpg's loaded heavy. 6-man LR and 2 epirbs. I want to do some of these trips.
Any more info or people that would like to buddy boat would be great.
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by 76 Stamas View Post
Thought I would revive this old thread. Anyone out of St. Pete. making this trip Elbow/Steps?
I have a small boat but have 326 gal on board with close to 2 mpg's loaded heavy. 6-man LR and 2 epirbs. I want to do some of these trips.
Any more info or people that would like to buddy boat would be great.
I can get a trip on the calendar for this spring/summer. We've been out to the elbow several times now and it's always a good time.
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Old 02-03-2014, 05:01 PM
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The Elbow is a doable day trip. The Steps is a different animal.

The Elbow is usually good for trolling and bottom fish. Good blue water with life is the key. It can be barren with only AJ's but that is not typical. We've caught many species at the Elbow, including a few non-typical for this area of the gulf, such as true black grouper, tile fish and big mutton snapper.
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Old 02-03-2014, 05:28 PM
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I can make the Elbow, no problem. I have never seen the bottom structure there, but I have plowed the way out to the middle grounds on several occasions in a much larger boat. We can catch bottom fish in 150, 40 out. That's "Old Hat"
I want to troll for pelagics around the Elbow. Input appreciated.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:32 PM
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http://www.roffs.com/product/tampa-offshore/

Spring and summer is best. Use the Rutgers link here: http://marine.rutgers.edu/cool/sat_d...ico&nothumbs=0

When the loop current pushes in close and the forecast looks good order the roffers.

Try to black out your livewell with a wide variety of live bait, rig some ballyhoo and don't forget the deep drop gear!

We've run our boat out to within 5 miles of the steps, which is.around 450 ft. Caught some nice Wahoo and bottom fish. It's a LONG ride.
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Old 02-04-2014, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Shaft View Post
http://www.roffs.com/product/tampa-offshore/

Spring and summer is best. Use the Rutgers link here: http://marine.rutgers.edu/cool/sat_d...ico&nothumbs=0

When the loop current pushes in close and the forecast looks good order the roffers.

Try to black out your livewell with a wide variety of live bait, rig some ballyhoo and don't forget the deep drop gear!

We've run our boat out to within 5 miles of the steps, which is.around 450 ft. Caught some nice Wahoo and bottom fish. It's a LONG ride.
Great Info.
I have never ordered a roffers. Is this reported to you via email?
Tried to look this up on their website.
I looking forward to going late spring.
Let me know if you have a trip planned.
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Old 02-04-2014, 06:57 PM
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The basics of what works in the keys, Bahamas, Cabo etc will work at the elbow, e.g., birds, weeds, debris. On occasion there can be massive schools of Bonita and you have to run away from them (save a few boneheads for bottom bait and chucking to mahi). I do like ballyhoo on light 80 to 100 pound leader, as well as cedar plugs and 6 to 8" jet heads.

If you are anchoring or drifting for bottom fish, keep your eyes and binoculars on the look out for large boils off in the distance. Seems to happen often and can yield tuna and other good Pelagics anytime of the year.

Main key for me has been lively water. You know it when you see it. Sometimes you have to run farther, sometimes you have to run back to an area of live water that you ran past on your way to the elbow.

If you are not seeing good signs of life but still think that the water is good, then find the best structure you can and work that area hard.

I'm sure others have more info. When it's a billion degrees in summer, trolling can be a decent alternative and the main strategy under the right conditions.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:14 PM
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I was out deep dropping S-Sw of the Steamboat Lumps last month. There were tons of black fins out there. I also fish the 40 break west of the grounds and wahoo, blackfin and dolphin are common pelagic catches. If you catch the right conditions and find an eddy or rip or break it can hold some good fish. If you are out that way and the water is blue and there's plenty of fliers than there is most likely some predators around.

If you strike out on the troll there's plenty of great bottom from 200'-600'. Tilefish, all of the deep water groupers including massive gags and giant warsaws, x-large snappers and more. The good thing is these bottom fish eat year round so they make a great plan b.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:36 PM
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The above is good info. Nice to see Guy's posting their results. Thanks.
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Old 07-26-2015, 09:31 AM
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Bumping up an old thread again.. I am planning on doing an Elbow trip out of Clearwater. Are these pelagic areas the last few posters mentioned at the Elbow that is 85miles or so SW of Clearwater? I know the bottom fishing is decent there and am trying to plan on what to take equipment wise. We have done many Middle Grounds trips but the Elbow sounds a bit different in terms of depth and seems there are more pelagics available. All the info I search online keeps bringing up the Elbow reef in the keys and then the one out of Destin.
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Old 07-26-2015, 11:38 AM
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Yes, we were talking about the area marked as the elbow about 85 miles from your port or 76 nautical miles to the southern edge of it from Pass a Grille pass. We have made s couple of trips this year and planning another for mid August. It is on some charts that are sold at West Marine. Good luck.
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Old 07-26-2015, 05:38 PM
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We have trolled the Elbow and caught Wahoo high speeding.
To be honest. the Middle grounds are hit and miss.
2 weeks ago a friend dove several areas and reported beautiful bottom with a few Hogs, but basically dead.
Lions everywhere.
The Middle grounds were for the most, fished out a long time ago.

Save your fuel and look for hard bottom or ledged in 120 feet.

Decent Carbo's there and great Snapper.
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Old 07-26-2015, 05:41 PM
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I hear this about the Middle Grounds being fished out all the time but I have yet to go out there and not fill the box to the top. A couple times it has required unconventional means but again, always a solid trip day or night..
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Old 07-26-2015, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Troutman561 View Post
I hear this about the Middle Grounds being fished out all the time but I have yet to go out there and not fill the box to the top. A couple times it has required unconventional means but again, always a solid trip day or night..
Great to hear.
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Old 07-26-2015, 07:53 PM
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Good info I'm planning on going out to the Elbow or Steps sometime this Summer/early Fall and was going to start researching.
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Old 07-26-2015, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by GR1FFIN View Post
Good info I'm planning on going out to the Elbow or Steps sometime this Summer/early Fall and was going to start researching.
Good swordfish at the steps.
Fished it 25 years ago on a bandit boat. Killed them.
But that was 25 years ago
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Old 07-27-2015, 03:23 AM
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As mentioned the steps are the ticket for the old salt loop tournament held each year. It is basically the only Billfish tournament held in the Tampa Bay area. Way back in the day the tourny organizers did have a fuel boat sent out. I don't believe they still do it.

I have fished there a few of times and it is really best as a multi day trip. The steps basically start at 500 feet and step down around 100 feet per mile or so you travel west. Lots of life when the loop current is on them.

We hauled fuel for the tournament in plastic drums to the tune of 150 gallons. Chugged out Thursday night fished Friday, Sat. chugged home Sat. night for the Sunday weigh in.

We swordfish fished at night and got 1. Lost an approx 400 lb blue on the troll Friday. Released a white marlin and a sailfish. Woke up to what looked like launching 55 Gallon drums Sunday morning which were YFT in the 80 pound class. Owner didn't want to waste time on them as this is a billfish tourny. These fish were on the outside of the steps at about 160 miles south west of Johns pass.

I have no doubt that it is still a great fishery but not many folks want to make the run. Even in a big fast CC one day isn't enough. I would like to do it again but my Rampage only has a 300 mile safe range without hauling fuel and really isn't big enough in my book. This is more of a 50 foot plus sportfish trip for me to be comfortable to stay out 3 to 4 days. And remember, 160 miles out is a long way from any help.

SST charts are a must and Roffers and Hiltons can really help put you where you need to be. Those same charts can also show you spin offs from the loop current that at times pile the fish up at the elbow which is approx 80 miles west of Johns pass. There have been more than 1 Marlin caught there under the right conditions.

Last but not least there are some huge critters on the bottom out there if you have the gear to mess with them.
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