Blustery winds hampered offshore action for a few days. Boaters must use extreme caution during these times. It doesn't take long to get hypothermia when water temperatures drop below 70 degrees.
Bottom fishing: Gag grouper should start their migration closer to shore, allowing anglers to capitalize on good bottom fishing within 15 miles. Frozen sardines, squid and other cutup fish will become the prime bait. For now, it's still frisky live baits, such as pinfish, grunts and squirrel fish. Triggerfish are on ledges and rock piles in our area. These tasty reef fish can't resist a small piece of squid or sardine presented on a double-hook rig with small hooks. A trigger's mouth is tiny compared with its body size, making it a task to get a bulkier hook to work. A 4/0 circle hook is my preference. Cleaning triggerfish can be a chore. Their skin is thick and tough like sandpaper, so be sure to have a sharp knife handy.
Big macs: King fishing is best wherever clean water is found. The artificial reefs at the 10-mile mark would be a great place to start as an abundance of baitfish cover the structure. Small gold hooks jiggled at the bottom will produce a wide variety. Spanish sardines, pilchards, cigar minnows and blue runners are the most predominant. Other great spots are areas where grouper live. Larger breaks will also hold baitfish lured in closer to shore. Since the past two cold fronts pounded the coastline with a vengeance, it has been a mud bath. A few days of recovery time will make all the difference for productive fishing. November should be exciting.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, jawstoo.com or (727) 595-3276.