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Fishing Lines: Grouper and mackerel and reds, oh my!

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By Capt. Dennis Voyles

Finally the wind subsided and the boat ramp was busy with offshore vessels during the pre-dawn hours this past weekend. I didn't get a chance to talk, but I saw The "Sandy Gail" unload a lot of gag and red grouper Saturday and Sunday. So my bet is that the fall grouper bite is in full gear. Many of our offshore guides have openings in their schedule so give them a call and get in on the good weather and good fishing.

Inshore the mackerel are fat and sassy. Captain Bill Roberts was cleaning some real brutes last Saturday. Bill attributed the catch to being at the right place at the right time. These large mackerel seem to be the largest of the year.

On the flats the bait is absolutely everywhere, and along with light winds and clear water the table is set for fantastic fishing. My clients have caught more huge reds these past two weeks than the entire rest of the year. Someone at the boat basin asked me how to catch these reds that are 40-plus inches. Its not that you choose them, they choose you. Fish a lot of your spots, use big baits and hope for the best. Sunday we saw the mother-of-all redfish swim by the boat and ignore us like old news. I am certain it was over fifity inches because we had just caught a forty-two incher and this one absolutely dwarfed it. I like the way Phil Muldrow describes luck. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I will be the first to admit that luck plays a major part in catching big fish.

The huge tides associated with last weeks new moon had all sorts of predators feeding on the abundant bait. At one of my spots we had reds, mackerel, tarpon, sharks, ladyfish and jacks all working the bait around the bar. It was awesome to see so many species in one place.

It looks as though the weather is going to hold for a while, so the fishing should continue to be good. Problem is, dove season starts Oct. 4, adding to the multitude of other great outdoorsman choices. I need to get my hunting "fix" on opening day of dove season, I just hope there is a good flight. Last year my brother Zed had the first ten birds of the season fly right at him in our dove field and he never cut a feather. When asked about it he said "I was jus givin em a fair warnin that thu season was startid." What a great sportsman.

Capt. Dennis Voyles is a fishing guide working out of Cedar Key.