Saturday, March 24, 2018

Captain's Corner: Fishing the gulf near Tampa Bay

The Gulf of Mexico near Tampa Bay is considered shallow compared to many areas of the world where the bottom drops dramatically just a few miles from shore. Our waters let sunlight penetrate to the bottom, which promotes vegetative and reef growth on any type of structure such as natural limestone reefs, artificial reefs and wrecks that protrude from the bottom. At this time of year we have done both bottom fishing and trolling. Trolling for pelagic fish, those found throughout the water column, is best when targeting higher-profile structures such as wrecks and artificial reefs. Those places tend to harbor larger concentrations of baitfish and their apex predators such as kingfish, Spanish mackerel, bonita and barracuda. Our bottom fishing for grouper and snapper often is conducted close to midwater artificial reefs and wrecks. The reason is even though the artificial reefs were placed on areas of sand bottom to prevent damage to natural reefs, every one was placed adjacent to limestone areas that already had a concentration of benthic fish. The kingfish bite has been as good as it gets the past two weeks. Spanish mackerel have been disappointing. We will target kingfish on artificial reefs, trolling hardware at 6 knots or slow-trolling live bait caught on site as slow as the boat will go in the morning. In the afternoons we'll switch to bottom fishing as long as kingfish remain in our area.

Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.


Captainís Corner: Take advantage of this weekís favorable weather

Gusty winds and small craft advisories much of this past week hampered most of the offshore fishing. With lighter winds and warmer temperatures forecast, this might be the week to get out and take advantage. Water temperatures are cooler than we like...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Erratic weather making offshore fishing unpredictable

Continued heavy winds have kept offshore fisheries from settling in to predictable patterns. When things have calmed, nearshore baitfish have bunched up and kingfish and Spanish mackerel settled in around them. Unfortunately, each cold front has chur...
Published: 03/23/18

Captainís Corner: Snook bite is best now in afternoon

So what happened to our spring weather in February? The weather has the fish moving back and forth between their winter and summer spots, and with April just a few weeks away, the air temperature is warming up and should be in the upper 70s and low 8...
Published: 03/21/18
Updated: 03/22/18

Captainís Corner: Windy conditions limit fishing options

The weather and water temperature roller coaster continues. Finding consistent action has been difficult with windy conditions keeping us from fishing many open parts of the bay or out into the gulf. Hiding in secluded backwater areas or on leeward s...
Published: 03/20/18
Updated: 03/21/18

Captainís Corner: Grouper moving in as water temperatures rise

Red grouper have made their move inshore this past week as waters closer to shore have warmed up a bit. Concentrate your efforts on hard bottom areas in depths of 100-120 feet for the rest of the month, and remember that all shallow water grouper are...
Published: 03/18/18
Updated: 03/20/18

Captainís Corner: Cold causes spiny lobsters to go into hiding

The cold front that ended Wednesday drove the offshore bottom temperatures back down into the low 60s. On dives Friday, my dive computer read 62 degrees at the bottom in 54 feet of water. On the next dive it read 60 in 62 feet. We were looking for ho...
Published: 03/18/18

Captainís Corner: Snook are the hot bite

Surface water temperatures have dipped into the low 60s, but the fish donít seem to mind. The longer days get the temperature up and helps keep it from getting into the danger zone at night. Snook have been the hot bite this past week and, believe it...
Published: 03/16/18
Updated: 03/17/18

It has been a crazy month regarding all the drastic weather changes. We experienced a record-breaking warming trend in February, followed by an endless amount of cold weather this month. The arrival times for many spring migrations of fish has been i...
Published: 03/16/18

Captainís Corner: Big trout moving out of the shallows

February seemed like March with record-breaking heat, but now March seems like February with below-average temperatures. This is a good thing. Spring fishing has started way too early in the past few years. The cold-water temperature we have now will...
Published: 03/14/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Captainís Corner: Temperature changes affect fly fishing

Having a fantastic river trip one day where we caught a lot of snook in shallow water on a fly and going back to the same location three days later and not finding any cooperative fish can be very puzzling. What happened? Recent warm weather was repl...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/14/18