Friday, September 21, 2018
Outdoors

Captain’s Corner: Offshore fishing heats up in spring

Spring is here and things are heating up offshore. Kingfish have arrived from Tarpon Springs to Anna Maria. Spanish mackerel are around many of the bridges and piers, and cobia have appeared on the wrecks. Our most interesting discovery last week was blackfin tuna. On the way in from offshore we spotted birds working over a pod of bait. As we approached we saw big splashes blowing up the water. This usually turns out to be bonito, but these splashes were much bigger. A dense pod of tiny Spanish sardines was being circled by a dozen sharks and around the perimeter were the telltale black backs of blackfin tuna. Periodically the tunas would rise and attack the bait pod, with many of them sailing completely out of the water. The hapless minnows eventually moved in under the boat for cover, so we shut the motors off and became part of the feeding frenzy. Nearly every cast with a topwater plug produced a strike from a tuna in the 20- to 25-pound class. If the fish went deep and stopped feeding, we would move the boat ahead, leaving the bait pod exposed and open to attack. This went on for 15 minutes until the sharks switched from gulping mouthfuls of minnows to destroying the tuna we hooked. With several 25-pound tuna prepped and on ice, we called it a day. Generally speaking, tuna feed best early in the day and a few hours before dark. If you go looking for them, get out at first light or in the evening.

Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Comments

Captainís Corner: Use Red Tide to venture to other fishing spots not affected

Normally this time of year my attention turns to the beaches, focusing on migratory species headed our way such as Spanish mackerel and kingfish. With our current Red Tide situation, my thoughts are still on the beach. Mostly, how to avoid it. Now is...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Captainís Corner: Finding live bait has been biggest fishing issue in our area so far from Red Tide

Captainís Corner: Finding live bait has been biggest fishing issue in our area so far from Red Tide

i thoWith Red Tide in the area, fishing close to shore has been a challenge. Waters from the beach out to about 40 feet have been affected this week. Concentrate your efforts starting about 80 feet and work west. Since our primary spots are well offs...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18

Captainís Corner: Look north toward Tarpon Springs for fishing to avoid Red Tide, for now

Red Tide has been creeping toward North Pinellas. Although bait is flourishing along the beaches and predator fish are feeding on them, hordes of dead fish are washing up on shore, most likely from Red Tide blooms well offshore. Lately, Iíve focused ...
Published: 09/19/18
Letís Take it Outside: A trip to the historic Florida Middle Grounds

Letís Take it Outside: A trip to the historic Florida Middle Grounds

The historic Florida Middle Grounds offer some of the Gulf Coastís most premier fishing. The reefs start about 85 miles northwest off the coast of Clearwater and extend another 30 miles beyond. The Middle Grounds have miles and miles of underwater mo...
Published: 09/19/18

Captainís Corner: Dealing with Red Tide from spearfishing standpoint

Finding fish to spear offshore is tricky. Unlike hook-and-line anglers, spearfishermen need reasonable underwater visibility to see their prey, judge itís the correct type of fish, determine if itís legal size, then before the fish flees, take the sh...
Published: 09/18/18

Captainís Corner: When Red Tide bloom breaks, fish can arrive quickly

Here is some good news attributed to Red Tide. Things do rebound quickly, once the bloom breaks. New populations of fish can arrive quickly in its aftermath. Anglers who have been successful lately are looking for untainted areas to fish. At least a ...
Published: 09/16/18
Updated: 09/17/18

Captainís Corner: Bite can turn on and off quickly this time of year

Typical deep-summer conditions continue across the bay. During this time of year the bite can be erratic and maybe even a little bi≠polar. The bite can turn on and off in an instant. Several species in one spot can be normal. On recent trips clients ...
Published: 09/16/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing strong in Fort De Soto area

Red Tide started showing up substantially on Saturday in Pinellas with the strong west wind we had. I lost some bait but was still able to fish. Snook are taking their time transitioning back into the bay from the beaches. Every shoreline and pass ar...
Published: 09/14/18
Updated: 09/15/18

Captainís Corner: Massive baitfish schools present plenty of opportunities

The shipping channel and most area passes are filled with massive schools of baitfish. Little tunny (bonito or false albacore) follow these smaller fish and present great opportunities for fly fisherís. A moving tide, either incoming or outgoing, get...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing in the bay with Red Tide in the gulf

Red Tide has started to affect our beaches, so Iíve stayed away from fishing the gulf. Threadfin herring and scaled sardines can be found in the bay, which is free of Red Tide. Spanish mackerel, cobia, sharks, mangrove snapper and jack crevalle can e...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/13/18