This weekend's front might halt some of the bonus fishing of the past month. Spanish mackerel have remained in enough numbers to make them almost a sure thing near gulf beaches and into Tampa Bay as far as the Skyway. The strong full moon tides have an effect on mackerel fishing. When the tide is outgoing, concentrate efforts near the mouth of the passes. We move to other areas when the tide slacks or changes and look for diving terns between the shoreline and 2 miles offshore which indicate feeding mackerel. The terns dive to pick up pieces of baitfish which the mackerel have torn apart. A bonus within a mile of shore has been schools of bull redfish ranging up to 40 pounds. Watch for frigate birds — when a group swoops to the surface, they are likely following a school of these massive redfish. Heavier tackle and a deep diving plug trolled at 5 knots will soon let you know if the fish are in the area. Also, the sonar will often reveal the rounded mass of redfish grubbing on the bottom. When sea conditions permit, the run out to the shipping channel and mid-water artificial reefs will find scattered kingfish, bonita and some barracuda.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.