The main body of bait has showed up a bit late this year, but right with it are a few different species that some wait for all year. Cobia, blackfin tuna, mahi and the occasional sailfish are making us plan better for offshore trips. These fish are used to finding food around any debris they come across and when you're out there anchored over your favorite grouper or snapper spot, you're exactly that. Having rods rigged and ready will help catch those bonus fish when they show up. I typically have four spinning rods loaded with 40- to 50-pound braid in the T-top at all times. One with a 5/0 circle hook for tuna or mahi; one with a trace of wire and a 3/0-5/0 hook for wahoo or kingfish; one with a bucktail jig for cobia; and one rigged with a 7/0-8/0 circle hook for sailfish. This past week we caught mahi to 15 pounds, cobia to 50 pounds and a bunch of tuna by having the right rigs ready when these fish came to the boat.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.