Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Captains corner: Bait arrives, bringing our favorite predators

What's hot: Water temperature has hit the magical 72 degree mark, bringing larger baitfish such as Spanish sardines, threadfins, cigar minnows and blue runners into our area. The pelagic predators, including Spanish mackerel, kingfish, bonito and cobia, are also here feeding on the baitfish to fuel their migration to the Panhandle.

Now that both red and gag grouper season is open, opportunities exist to return to port with a mixed bag of fish.

Strategy: Instead of venturing offshore with the mind-set to target only bottom fish or pelagics, we have been gearing up for both types of fishing. Normally the fishing for kingfish and mackerel is best near sunrise and sunset, so we adjust our game plan to troll at the beginning of the day. Stopping at the artificial reefs off Madeira Beach, Treasure Island or St. Petersburg Beach on the way out also presents several options. One is to fill the bait well with several types of baitfish for bottom fishing. If the bait is present, the pelagic predators will also be there, so deploying a stinger-rigged flatline while catching bait is usually productive. On many days, the two per person bag limit on kingfish will be caught before the bait well is full.

During the gag grouper closure, we caught and released many keeper-sized (22 inches) fish while fishing within 3 to 4 miles of these artificial reefs. Targeting these areas saves fuel and allows for more fishing time. The 10 Fathom Curve outlined on most charts serves as a highway for many of the migratory species, and at this time of year it also harbors most species of the bottom fish that we seek.

Tip: If it's too windy to venture offshore and must get a "fishing fix," sheepshead gather in numbers at nearly every bridge and dock near the passes that enter the gulf. They provide an excellent fight on light tackle as well as being great table fare.

Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.

Captains corner: Bait arrives, bringing our favorite predators 04/02/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 2, 2009 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.

  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)