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. Bucs-Bills journal: Breakout game for Bucs tight end O.J. Howard

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It's obscured by the final score and a disappointing loss, but Bucs rookie tight end O.J. Howard had a breakout game Sunday, exceeding his season totals for catches and touchdowns in one afternoon.

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) celebrates a touchdown catch with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Vladislav Namestnikov is Lightning's top-line 'secret'

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov is piling up the goals. Steven Stamkos is an assist machine. They make for an impressive pairing in a league that favors scoring pairs over the more traditional three-player scoring lines.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Vladislav Namestnikov (90) reacts after scoring during the third period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017.
  3. Ex-Lightning forward Brian Boyle returns to practice after cancer diagnosis

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — Brian Boyle, diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia last month, was back on the ice with his Devils teammates Sunday after getting cleared to practice for the first time since his diagnosis.

    Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor says can be treated with medication, the Devils announced Tuesday. [AP photo]
  4. Bucs-Bills report card: Grading the Bucs' 30-27 loss at Buffalo

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Hard to believe, but this was only the second time in their history that the Bucs played a regular-season game in Buffalo. After Sunday loss, they wouldn't mind going another 40 years without playing here again.

    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, seen during the first half, had a heck of a day calling plays, Tom Jones writes. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs-Bills: Social media reactions to the Bucs' 30-27 loss

    Bucs

    Here's a sampling of reactions from the media and fans to the Bucs' 30-27 loss Sunday at Buffalo:

    Buffalo Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka (4) is mobbed by teammates after kicking the game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]