Water is still chilly in Tampa Bay, but certain species are starting to cooperate.
What's coming: Some Spanish mackerel are being seen and caught around the Sunshine Skyway bridge. Though they are not numerous yet, it should not be much longer before the toothy marauders and their cousins, king mackerel, arrive in force.
Grouper: Grouper season opens April 1 (no joke). The long-awaited and somewhat controversial ban on the species will be lifted, once again offering fishermen a prized treat. Grouper can be found in the bay and near shore areas that have structure or ledges. The coveted and extremely educated variety should cooperate until the water gets hot. When targeting grouper or any other bottom-dwelling fish, a bottom machine is almost vital.
Tip: Time is running out to get your boat or other fishing equipment serviced or repaired before mechanics and service techs get real busy. When spring weather arrives, it will be almost inexcusable to be unprepared. This the most anticipated spring that I can remember. Cabin fever has taken its toll on outdoorsmen of all types, and the remedy is hopefully just around the corner.
Captain Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at (813) 310-6531 or at www.snookfish.com or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.