Saturday, September 22, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Focus on mackerel while waiting for fall kingfish run

Mackerel have picked up the slack as we wait for the bigger number of kingfish to show up. East winds have drawn huge schools of bait into 20- to 25-foot depths over some of the hard-bottom areas along the gulf beaches. Big numbers of opportunistic mackerel have followed them in to take advantage. Slow-trolled whitebait in and around those bait pods often result in double and triple hookups on 12-pound spinning tackle and single-hook rigs. I like a foot-long length of single-strand, coffee-colored No. 2 wire (29-pound test) to prevent cutoffs from the sharp-toothed macks. Winds that shifted more south over the weekend will temporarily scatter the perfect-sized mackerel baits that had bunched up inside the swash along the beaches. Until we return to the normal weather pattern of east winds, consider gathering bait on the flats on the inside before heading into the gulf. On Saturday, despite strong winds and sloppy conditions, we managed a bunch of mackerel (some 3 and 4 pounds), a couple of kingfish and bonita working bait pods off Treasure Island. Take a couple of jiggle rods and gold-hook rigs if you go. You can cast net the pods if they're thick, but each trip we've been able to jiggle up all the full-blown greenbacks we've wanted for kingfish baits while we were trolling. If weather forecasters are accurate, this week could be the beginning of something big as we ready for our fall run of kingfish.

Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.

Comments

Captainís Corner: Use Red Tide to venture to other fishing spots not affected

Normally this time of year my attention turns to the beaches, focusing on migratory species headed our way such as Spanish mackerel and kingfish. With our current Red Tide situation, my thoughts are still on the beach. Mostly, how to avoid it. Now is...
Published: 09/20/18
Updated: 09/21/18
Captainís Corner: Finding live bait has been biggest fishing issue in our area so far from Red Tide

Captainís Corner: Finding live bait has been biggest fishing issue in our area so far from Red Tide

i thoWith Red Tide in the area, fishing close to shore has been a challenge. Waters from the beach out to about 40 feet have been affected this week. Concentrate your efforts starting about 80 feet and work west. Since our primary spots are well offs...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18

Captainís Corner: Look north toward Tarpon Springs for fishing to avoid Red Tide, for now

Red Tide has been creeping toward North Pinellas. Although bait is flourishing along the beaches and predator fish are feeding on them, hordes of dead fish are washing up on shore, most likely from Red Tide blooms well offshore. Lately, Iíve focused ...
Published: 09/19/18
Letís Take it Outside: A trip to the historic Florida Middle Grounds

Letís Take it Outside: A trip to the historic Florida Middle Grounds

The historic Florida Middle Grounds offer some of the Gulf Coastís most premier fishing. The reefs start about 85 miles northwest off the coast of Clearwater and extend another 30 miles beyond. The Middle Grounds have miles and miles of underwater mo...
Published: 09/19/18

Captainís Corner: Dealing with Red Tide from spearfishing standpoint

Finding fish to spear offshore is tricky. Unlike hook-and-line anglers, spearfishermen need reasonable underwater visibility to see their prey, judge itís the correct type of fish, determine if itís legal size, then before the fish flees, take the sh...
Published: 09/18/18

Captainís Corner: When Red Tide bloom breaks, fish can arrive quickly

Here is some good news attributed to Red Tide. Things do rebound quickly, once the bloom breaks. New populations of fish can arrive quickly in its aftermath. Anglers who have been successful lately are looking for untainted areas to fish. At least a ...
Published: 09/16/18
Updated: 09/17/18

Captainís Corner: Bite can turn on and off quickly this time of year

Typical deep-summer conditions continue across the bay. During this time of year the bite can be erratic and maybe even a little bi≠polar. The bite can turn on and off in an instant. Several species in one spot can be normal. On recent trips clients ...
Published: 09/16/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing strong in Fort De Soto area

Red Tide started showing up substantially on Saturday in Pinellas with the strong west wind we had. I lost some bait but was still able to fish. Snook are taking their time transitioning back into the bay from the beaches. Every shoreline and pass ar...
Published: 09/14/18
Updated: 09/15/18

Captainís Corner: Massive baitfish schools present plenty of opportunities

The shipping channel and most area passes are filled with massive schools of baitfish. Little tunny (bonito or false albacore) follow these smaller fish and present great opportunities for fly fisherís. A moving tide, either incoming or outgoing, get...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing in the bay with Red Tide in the gulf

Red Tide has started to affect our beaches, so Iíve stayed away from fishing the gulf. Threadfin herring and scaled sardines can be found in the bay, which is free of Red Tide. Spanish mackerel, cobia, sharks, mangrove snapper and jack crevalle can e...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/13/18