Usually anglers start their day filling a live well with baitfish before heading offshore. Unfortunately with the current algae bloom, spending too much time netting bait might be a waste of time. Most live well systems are "open systems" that allow raw seawater to flow into the live well. Live bait canít thrive when flooded in contaminated seawater. Regrettably, you might end up producing a bunch of oxygen-starved and useless baitfish. Should you manage to get offshore with some live bait, expect a fair bite of mangrove snapper. Use of a commercial frozen chum block should stimulate action. Use an extremely light leader, because mangrove snapper have been very line-wary of late. Keeping a free-lined bait behind the boat might attract the attention of Spanish mackerel, cobia, possibly a shark or even a lonely, if not lost, king mackerel. Last year at this time there were a number of flounder located on some of the hard-bottom reefs. Flounder tend to like areas where thereís some sand so they can hide. They are ambush predators, though many anglers donít consider this and fewer are successful in catching flounder. The trick is to keep your bait moving slowly while bouncing gently along the bottom.
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit captainlarryblue.com.