What's hot: Offshore fishing has been slow because of recent fronts and high winds. Those who have made it offshore have been fishing in 25 to 40 feet. Larry Blue was shark fishing in 30 feet with success. He used kingfish carcasses for chum and bait, and whole mackerel cut in half on a flat line with a cork. Place bait in the middle of the water column to keep pinfish and crabs from eating it. Blue reported the catch and release of a barracuda close to 80 pounds.
Spanish mackerel fishing is slow compared with last year. Those caught are 4-6 pounds. Garner Koons and Mike Hubbard dived in 35 feet over ledges and caught nice gags and a few mangrove snapper. Reddington Pier reports say large trout are being caught early and at night. Elsewhere, tarpon being caught are averaging 170 pounds. North Skyway Pier reported great catches of mangrove snapper on live greenbacks, lots of pompano using yellow and white half-ounce jigs tipped with shrimp, tarpon and shark hookups and a few keeper gags, with the outgoing tide best.
Best bait: Amberjack take large, live blue runners, threadfins and pinfish. Deploy a flat line with a Spanish sardine and you may get a king or blackfin tuna. Tuna run in schools, so chum heavily to keep them around.
Larry "Huffy'' Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 709-9396.