We evaluated fluctuations in the abundance of colonial and noncolonial epifauna in benthic photographs taken between the years 1994 and 2000 in areas of Georges Bank (northwest Atlantic) that have been classified as either disturbed or undisturbed by bottom fishing
. Colonial epifauna are ecologically important because many taxa generate three-dimensional microhabitats that augment the structural complexity of the benthic environment.
On your way out or back from the sword grounds, you might look into one of the most exotic fisheries in Florida--the deep bottom fishing
. The Islamorada Rips are about 15 miles offshore in depths of400 to 800 feet, and those are good prospecting grounds for tilefish, rosefish, barrel fish and others.
During our morning of bottom fishing
, we caught our limit of 2 gag grouper--one per person in both state and federal waters in Atlantic waters.
is all about the sea bass, vermilions and triggerfish.
If you're bottom fishing
, for example, hook placement should be different on anchor than if you're drifting in heavy current.
On Sidor's boat, we alternated between bottom fishing
with Okuma Metaloid 1211 reels on 7-foot spiral-carbon rods with 65-pound braid, and surface-to-midwater fishing with lighter spinning gear.
Anglers targeting red snapper offshore can go after a couple of bonus species while bottom fishing
, including mangrove snapper.
is pushing farther offshore, but it's still very good.
Offshore bottom fishing
is as good as it gets, and the pelagic species like wahoo, mahi and billfish are beginning to show.
Note: Circle hooks are required when bottom fishing
for reef species with natural bait in the Gulf of Mexico.
For deepwater bottom fishing
, scamps, snowies, warsaws, tilefish and even barrel fish are on the list.
Some of the options might not sound appealing to fishermen--but neither does the BIG OPTION, which could take the form of complete closure of all bottom fishing
off Northeast Florida (this was seriously considered in 2011).