What's not hot: High winds and rough seas kept us in port most of last week waiting to fish for the large schools of ravenous kingfish. When we got out, water the color and consistency of chocolate milk greeted us and continued offshore until the 60-foot depths. Then the water turned blue. Trolling a variety of spoons at various depths over hard-bottom areas and wreckage produced only scattered Spanish mackerel and bonita. Boats fishing the Egmont Channel gave the same dismal report. Lots of kingfish are still to the south, and once the winds subside and the water clears, they should arrive in our area.
What's hot: Bottom fishing made up for the poor kingfish results with red and gag grouper, white grunts, triggerfish and mangrove snapper. The fishing was hot in 60-foot depths using squid, cut sardines and a squid-sardine combination on the hooks. Live bait did not produce well. Bottom fish depend on sight and smell to feed. Although the surface water was clear, a layer of silty water was probably near the bottom, resulting in dead baits being more productive.
Tip: Fishing for pelagic fish this time of year often produces almost nonstop action. There is always bottom fishing in the usual areas that harbor kingfish.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach and can be reached at Luckytoo2@aol.com or (727) 397-8815.