What's hot: Water temperatures are hovering around 83 degrees offshore, which usually means kingfish have left our area for the Panhandle. In past years trolling has targeted Spanish mackerel, bonita and barracuda through the summer months. But we have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of kingfish we have encountered in the past week, using a stinger rig with a frozen sardine, small blue runner or live Spanish sardine while targeting bottom fish in 60 to 80 feet.
Tips: In the past when the bottom bite ended, we simply left the spot. But the pelagic fish are attracted to the boat while bottom fishing, primarily because of the chum slick in the water column caused by bottom fish expelling their stomach contents on the way up and smaller reef fish being released in a stunned condition, which become easy prey. We spend 10 to 15 minutes after every bottom stop slow trolling live baits or spoons behind planers in a figure 8 over the place we fished. Not every place produces, but when it does the results have been great.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.