What's hot: Great fishing exists for offshore anglers who do not wish to make a budget-breaking run far offshore. Spanish mackerel, barracuda, bonita and a few kingfish can be found at all the nearshore artificial reefs as long as a concentration of bait is hovering over them. The structures include large culverts, junction boxes, bridge pilings, concrete light poles, and some of the barges and obsolete military tanks that were placed by our artificial reef program. For signs of bait, look for birds diving or predators pushing bait to the surface. Often it is necessary to search for a cloud of bait with a fish finder.
Tackle: Two methods usually are successful when fishing artificial reefs. The most popular and easiest is to troll small (No. 0 or No. 1) spoons 30 feet behind a No. 1 or No. 2 planer at 6 knots. Once a fish is hooked, using the Man Overboard Button (MOB) on the GPS will ensure a return to where the fish are. The other method is to find a piece of structure that is holding bait, use a Sabiki rig to catch bait and deploy the rig via a flatline.
Tip: The locations of artificial reefs can be found on most charts and many websites. The published GPS number is for the center of the reef. These reefs had material scattered all over a rectangular area that was 2,000 feet long running north to south and 300 feet long from east to west.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach and can be reached at Luckytoo2@aol.com or (727) 397-8815.