Saturday, March 17, 2018

Captain's Corner: Best time for spring fishing later this year

When asked in the past when is the best time to fish in the spring, I would answer quickly: the entire month of April and the first two weeks of May. This was predicated on water temperatures being in the mid to high 70s, providing the optimum conditions for baitfish to arrive along with their predators, kingfish, Spanish mackerel, bonita and barracuda. This year I have to change my response to the last two weeks of April and the entire month of May. Water temperatures dropped into the 50s a few months ago and have slowly risen, up to 74 degrees offshore on Friday. Spanish sardines, scad, blue runners and threadfins can be found on the artificial reefs and high-profile wrecks and ledges. Spanish mackerel we've been catching have been above-average size, often mixed in with schools of kingfish in the 6- to 12-pound class, which now are more abundant than mackerel. Slow trolling sabiki-caught bait in the area targeted has produced multiple hookups and drag-screaming runs when targeting these fish on 10- to 12-pound spinning tackle. Bottom fishing has come into its own, with red grouper, white grunts, Lane and mangrove snapper being the targets of choice in 60 to 65 feet. Deploy two stinger-rigged flatlines while bottom fishing, one with a live bait such as a Spanish sardine or hardtail and another with a frozen sardine so the entire water column is covered when kingfish, which are attracted to the activity and chum in the water, show up.

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


Captainís Corner: Snook are the hot bite

Surface water temperatures have dipped into the low 60s, but the fish donít seem to mind. The longer days get the temperature up and helps keep it from getting into the danger zone at night. Snook have been the hot bite this past week and, believe it...
Updated: 1 hour ago

It has been a crazy month regarding all the drastic weather changes. We experienced a record-breaking warming trend in February, followed by an endless amount of cold weather this month. The arrival times for many spring migrations of fish has been i...
Published: 03/16/18

Captainís Corner: Big trout moving out of the shallows

February seemed like March with record-breaking heat, but now March seems like February with below-average temperatures. This is a good thing. Spring fishing has started way too early in the past few years. The cold-water temperature we have now will...
Published: 03/14/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Captainís Corner: Temperature changes affect fly fishing

Having a fantastic river trip one day where we caught a lot of snook in shallow water on a fly and going back to the same location three days later and not finding any cooperative fish can be very puzzling. What happened? Recent warm weather was repl...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/14/18

Captainís Corner: Warming trend increasing activity over grass flats

Water temperatures have finally started to climb into the low 70s on the flats. The temperatures have been fluctuating with the past few cold fronts moving through. Large schools of reds should start showing up on the flats in the Pinellas Point area...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/13/18
Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

We traditionally look at two holidays to signal the start of trolling season for kingfish and Spanish mackerel along with their attendant migratory companions, blackfin tuna, cobia and barracuda. These are St. Patrickís Day (March 17) and Columbus Da...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/12/18

Captainís Corner: Spring fishing is getting close

When the weather settles down in the bay area, spring fishing should shift quickly into high gear. Just before the recent heavy winds arrived and churned the nearshore gulf into a muddy mess, seasonal migratory fish were showing up all over town. For...
Published: 03/10/18
Updated: 03/11/18

Captainís Corner: Trout return to their early spring areas

Cool air has filtered down, giving us hopefully the last cold blow for awhile. Recent fronts have shaken things up. But fishing has been good considering the weather. Trout have pushed into their early spring areas, basically where they were five wee...
Published: 03/10/18
Captainís Corner: Snook, trout out in abundance as spring approaches

Captainís Corner: Snook, trout out in abundance as spring approaches

March is here, and the weather is great. This month is when we make that change toward spring fishing. Snook really ramps up, and trophy trout mixed with good redfish are not far behind. Snook has to be the most targeted fish for March. Just about ev...
Published: 03/09/18

Captainís Corner: Cold fronts might be a blessing for fishing

So much for getting too hot too fast. It was a concern a couple of weeks ago when water temperatures were flirting with 80 degrees in some areas. We worried that the masses of kingfish might blow right by us as they sought that 70-75 temperatures the...
Published: 03/07/18
Updated: 03/08/18