What's hot: Bottom fishing for red grouper has been fairly productive in 50-65 feet. Most of the fish are undersized, but persistence will pay off with some more than the legal 20 inches. It might take a few stops to catch your limit of grouper. Expect them to move farther offshore as the Gulf's temperature climbs. While bottom fishing, keep a flatline out for a passing kingfish and don't be surprised to see a mahi or two stop by to take a look.
Tip: Fishing for Spanish mackerel closer to shore has been spotty. We are catching a few quality size fish in the 25- to 35-foot depth, just not the normal "beach fish" we usually catch. Sunday we noticed more schools of baitfish about a mile off the beach, so nearshore fishing should pick up. The mackerel will corral the baitfish like herding dogs — running in circles around them — and as always diving seabirds will show their location. Sharks are also making their way along our coast following the mackerel. May is one of the best months for shark fishing in the Tampa Bay area.
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit www.CaptainLarryBlue.com.