Saturday, March 17, 2018

Captain's Corner: Go after big amberjack

What's hot: Gradually warming water has brought many species of game fish. Fishing action heats up with each warm day but suffers with each cold front.

Offshore: Amberjack are closed to commercial harvest, giving anglers a chance to hook big ones. Look for them deeper that 100 feet. Recently, we found schools of 15- to 80-pounders far offshore. One spring in 170 feet had giant ones circling on the surface. Although the surface remains cold, we saw permit milling around wrecks as deep as 125 feet off Tarpon Springs. Mangrove and red snapper (both closed to harvest) and even yellowtail snapper have appeared. Several boats out of Clearwater this week returned with limits of kingfish despite surface temperatures of 60 degrees, well below their preferred range.

Inshore: Scaled sardines are appearing on local flats. The snook bite in north Pinellas has been slow. But as the weather heats up, so should the action. Good-sized snook are showing up outside residential canals and backwater creeks. Target them during the calmest and warmest parts of the day.

Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at (727) 944-3474.


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