Tips: Giant schools of baitfish have invaded, luring in migratory species of all kinds. I often tell eager clients waiting to soak a line immediately, "It's all about the bait." Once livewells are filled with the proper ingredients, we go catching, not fishing.
Bait: A few dozen pinfish and squirrel fish are often the first baits to hit the livewells. You can't beat them for grouper bait, and they're easily accessible about a mile from shore. Then we run offshore a bit looking for high-diving birds. They indicate threadfin herring, which happens to be kingfish candy. Sabiki rigs jiggled in front of the 6-inch long herring's snout will fill the livewells even more. And blue runners attract barracuda, cobia, kings and sharks.
What's hot: Our biggest thrill this week has been the many bull sharks around the wrecks. You can pretty much count on an 8-footer to quickly attack a 10-pound bonito. Use extreme caution with these giants. We have had two try to lunge out of the water and take a bite as we took their picture boatside.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach and can be reached at email@example.com, jawstoo.com or (727) 595-3276.