Bait alert: Baitfish are entering the bay and showing up on grass flats near the passes. Carry cast nets of varied mesh sizes to ensure the capture of these baits without gilling them. The most popular net mesh size for our area is 3/8 inches, and if you are throwing around bridges or other structure have a backup on board. Alternate nets should include a smaller 1/4-inch mesh for tiny baits in the shallows and a larger 1/2-inch mesh for big baits in deeper water.
Coming attractions: A few Spanish mackerel and king mackerel have made early appearances, but the massive schools have not arrived yet. These migratory fish are following bait stacks and water temperatures that are hedging toward that perfect mark of 72 degrees.
Tip: Both of these mackerel have teeth that are capable of slicing through typical monofilament leader material. For this reason, some anglers resort to long-shank hooks to help provide protection from cut-offs. A better solution is to use a short section of light wire ahead of the hook. The secret is to tie several rigs at home before fishing to avoid trying to tie the wire while bouncing around in the boat.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at capt [email protected] or (727)510-1009.