What's hot: We've been deploying trolling lines when we reach the no-wake zone leading up to John's Pass and reaping results. The mandated slow speed has been ideal for trolling. Catches have included Spanish mackerel, kingfish, ladyfish, blue runners, bluefish, jack crevalle, seatrout and gag grouper.
Tactics: We start with a No. 1 planer because of the shallow water, a 25-foot, 40-pound leader and a No. 1 gold spoon. Once we reach the deeper channel we deploy a No. 2 planer, same leader and either a small lipped plug or large spoon until we get through the bridge and shallower depths of the channel.
Offshore: Large Spanish mackerel, some smaller kingfish and barracuda can be found on most of the midwater and nearshore artificial reefs. Troll small spoons and plugs for the mackerel. Switch to a slow-trolled live bait to produce larger fish. Bottom fishermen who target the 50- to 60-foot depths have been returning with red and gag grouper caught on frozen squid and sardines.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.