Deepwater: Spring is officially here and with it comes many pelagic species that make their way through our offshore waters on their northerly migration. King mackerel have taken center stage for the inshore fishery and will continue to do so for the next couple of months. In deeper waters other species such as tuna, mahi, wahoo and sailfish have started their move into the bait rich areas off the coast.
Many websites will assist anglers in finding current rips, eddys and blue-water edges offshore, that are essential in finding these fish.
Tuna: During this past week we have found many blackfin tuna hiding under schools of bonita offshore in 100 to 140 feet. These fish can be a challenge because there are so many of the undesired species in these feeding frenzies. I usually pull up well outside the school and pitch baits such as cigar minnows and Spanish sardines, and free spooling the reel, allowing the bait to swim straight down under the school where the tuna will be. Two trips this past week to different areas resulted in a handful of tuna from 18 to 29 pounds.
Wahoo: For the next few months the Elbow should be a good place to start. Though some like to troll lures and ballyhoo for these speedsters, I prefer a slow trolled live bait such as a big blue runner or large cigar minnows. The Elbow is full of large peaks, some 30 feet, that will hold these fish. Deploy a spread of baits up top and on the down-riggers and try to keep your trolling speed at 1-2 knots.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.