Sunday, December 10, 2017
Outdoors

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.

Comments

Captainís Corner: Sheepshead action lively in cooler weather

Conditions after the cold front are cool and are going to be for a while. That doesnít mean you canít or shouldnít fish. Many anglers get stuck on snook, reds and trout and forget how fun it is to catch sheepshead. Many reefs are already holding good...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Fishing will return to normal, but when?

The severity of this cold front will determine the fishing forecast for the next several days. Bait that had been abundant inshore will scatter. Nearshore gulf waters will muddy, and water temperatures. at least temporarily. will plummet. How cold, h...
Published: 12/08/17
Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

I canít believe we are in the last month of the year. And while this is one of my favorite months to fish, it will be controlled by weather. As cold fronts become more frequent and harsh, planning your trips around them will make the biggest differen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Captainís Corner: Strong results for redfish, speckled trout

This is a great time for variety. Combined trips for speckled trout and redfish are achieving excellent results. With the correct approach, great catches of both species are a reality now. The best anglers use the lightest tackle. Light rods and reel...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Captainís Corner: Take advantage of abundant gag grouper before season ends

Gag grouper fishing and spearing is hot. The season for these grouper in the Gulf of Mexico is winding down, with a slated closure at the end of this month. The cooler water has the gags moving closer, and they are happy when the bottom temperatures ...
Published: 12/05/17

Captainís Corner: Bait schools near shore drawing kings, mackerel, bonito

Nearshore fishing is still going strong in north Pinellas. Bait schools are roaming just a couple of miles offshore, attracting kingfish, Spanish mackerel and bonito. The beaches are still holding sardines for cast netting at sunrise. I like to have ...
Published: 12/03/17
Updated: 12/05/17

Captainís Corner: This is the month to target gag grouper

With our current regulations in the Gulf, this is the best month to target gag grouper. Although the gag grouper season opens in June they are hard to come by for most months unless anglers travel to depths of 240 feet or more. With each passing cold...
Published: 12/03/17
Updated: 12/04/17

Captainís Corner: Speckled sea trout can be easily caught on artificial lures

Speckled sea trout are one of the most reliable targets this time of year. Grass flats are usually empty because of extreme low tides. That causes higher concentrations of fish on the edges and in the deeper grass flats. No live bait is needed. A red...
Published: 12/01/17

Captainís Corner: Cooler weather lures decent gag grouper

Mild temperatures have allowed anglers to get out and explore many areas. Cooler weather has lured decent gag grouper. We expected them to arrive in the past month, and they havenít disappointed. Numerous rocks in 20- to 120-foot depths seem to be ho...
Published: 11/30/17

Captainís Corner: Donít have to go far offshore for grouper

When most anglers think of bottom fishing for grouper, they usually think that means taking a long run offshore. During late November and early December, grouper migrate close to shore, so a long run might not be necessary. There are times we target ...
Published: 11/28/17
Updated: 11/29/17