Saturday, March 17, 2018

Captain's Corner: Gag grouper just the start of a hot bite

What's hot: This time of year most offshore fishermen take advantage of the incredible gag grouper bite. Gags are stacked on just about every little rock pile and ledge in just about all depths, providing incredible catch-and-release action since they are closed to all harvest. If seeking fish to eat, head to the deep water.

Red grouper: Good numbers of reds are in depths of 70-90 feet and the largest concentrations are in 130-160 feet. Live bait has been the key to getting the larger fish, but we have gotten many on bucktail and vertical jigs.

Mangrove snapper: Concentrate on high relief areas such as wrecks and big breaks for snapper. For smaller fish, chunk baits work well. Live bait is best for larger fish.

Mahimahi: Straggler mahi are hanging around. Trips offshore produced many of these tasty fish. Small half-ounce bucktails work well when the school is behind the boat.

Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and


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

Captainís Corner: Warming trend increasing activity over grass flats

Water temperatures have finally started to climb into the low 70s on the flats. The temperatures have been fluctuating with the past few cold fronts moving through. Large schools of reds should start showing up on the flats in the Pinellas Point area...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/13/18
Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

We traditionally look at two holidays to signal the start of trolling season for kingfish and Spanish mackerel along with their attendant migratory companions, blackfin tuna, cobia and barracuda. These are St. Patrickís Day (March 17) and Columbus Da...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/12/18

Captainís Corner: Spring fishing is getting close

When the weather settles down in the bay area, spring fishing should shift quickly into high gear. Just before the recent heavy winds arrived and churned the nearshore gulf into a muddy mess, seasonal migratory fish were showing up all over town. For...
Published: 03/10/18
Updated: 03/11/18

Captainís Corner: Trout return to their early spring areas

Cool air has filtered down, giving us hopefully the last cold blow for awhile. Recent fronts have shaken things up. But fishing has been good considering the weather. Trout have pushed into their early spring areas, basically where they were five wee...
Published: 03/10/18
Captainís Corner: Snook, trout out in abundance as spring approaches

Captainís Corner: Snook, trout out in abundance as spring approaches

March is here, and the weather is great. This month is when we make that change toward spring fishing. Snook really ramps up, and trophy trout mixed with good redfish are not far behind. Snook has to be the most targeted fish for March. Just about ev...
Published: 03/09/18

Captainís Corner: Cold fronts might be a blessing for fishing

So much for getting too hot too fast. It was a concern a couple of weeks ago when water temperatures were flirting with 80 degrees in some areas. We worried that the masses of kingfish might blow right by us as they sought that 70-75 temperatures the...
Published: 03/07/18
Updated: 03/08/18

Captainís Corner: The right location means big trout numbers

It is peak time for catching large numbers of trout. A "spring thing" right now, it is not unusual to put up a big number with a number of quality-sized fish being caught. This should continue for another two months. For tackle and techniques, trout ...
Published: 03/05/18
Updated: 03/07/18