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October 21, 2008

Targets of Opportunity

With gas prices climbing and limits dropping, maximize your time on the water by trying something different

As fuel prices soar and federal authorities clamp tighter limits on many offshore species, it hardly seems worth venturing 20 to 50 miles offshore just to reel in two red snapper. However, anglers willing to try different techniques enjoy the most fun on the water. In addition, many underutilized species remain plentiful, widespread and fun to catch - often with little or no regulation.

"What we do depends upon whether our clients want to catch big fish and have a good time or take meat home," says Capt. Joe Shute, a North Carolina skipper. "We've caught 15 to 20 different species on occasion. The main thing is to get out there and have fun. The more different styles of fishing you try, the more you see what works."

Who Knows What Lurks Below
Depending upon the location, anglers in the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean might land cobia, dolphin, gray triggerfish, king or Spanish mackerel, pompano, several shark species, spadefish, tripletail, blackfin or yellowfin tuna or wahoo. Dropping a bait or jig to the bottom in deep water could produce amberjack, several species of grouper , hogfish, queen triggerfish, , sea bass, various snapper species and other fishes.