What's hot: Stone crab season is open and gulf shorelines are full of stone crab traps. The floats at the end of the traps are great for tripletail to hang on. They look like a large leaf or clump of sea grass next to the float. Tripletails are hard fighters and great to eat. Run on a plane about 30 feet off the floats and locate a dark patch floating next to a float. Slow the boat and circle around with the wind at your back. Move in slowly and look to see if it's a fish or grass. If it's a fish, cast a free-lined tail-hooked shrimp over the float and reel it back until the shrimp is next to the tripletail. When the fish moves toward the shrimp, open the bail and let the shrimp swim naturally. When the fish moves back to the float, close the bail and set the hook.
Tackle: A 7-foot rod with 10- to 20-pound test and a 1/0 hook will land most of the fish. Hook the shrimp through the bottom of the tail and bring it out the top. This aids casting accuracy.
Pro tip: When the water cools, large numbers of flounder move to the artificial reefs. Target reefs in the 30-foot zone. White bait on a jig head has been the most productive.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.