What's hot: On a typical six-hour fishing trip, we will leave the dock with frozen sardines and squid in the bait cooler and stop about 11/2 miles offshore over a patch of limestone bottom to fish for pinfish, squirrelfish, Spanish sardines and threadfins with No. 6 or 8 sabiki rigs, weighted with a 3-ounce sinker. The heavier weight is used to help prevent tangling when multiple baits are hooked. Using a small piece of squid tentacle on the two lower hooks will help to ensure the bite from the bottom dwellers, and the other hooks will produce the other free-swimming baits.
Tips: Trolling the nearshore and mid-water artificial reefs has consistently yielded Spanish mackerel, kingfish, barracuda and bonito. Using No. 1 planers and small spoons with at least 20 feet of 40-pound leader has been the key. Using the smaller terminal tackle allows us to downsize rod and reel to 20- or 30-pound class, which is much easier and more comfortable for younger anglers.
Technique: Bottom fishing has been outstanding in 60 feet for both our younger clients and their parents, with virtually nonstop action from white grunts, red grouper, triggerfish and catch-and-release gag grouper. A 2/0 double hook rig will keep the young ones busy while the older anglers employ conventional tackle for the larger fish.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.