Sunday, January 21, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Kingfish, mackerel, bonita provide action

Before the recent cold front blew through with its high winds and rough seas that prevented us from venturing offshore we were surprised and pleased with trolling and bottom fishing. Spanish mackerel and kingfish were abundant in the 40- to 60-foot depths on high profile structure such as artificial reefs, wrecks and large ledges. It took some moving from spot to spot until the kingfish, mackerel and bonita were found and the use of No. 1 and 2 planers followed by large and small spoons trolled at 6 knots to verify that the fish were on or near the particular structure. Nonstop action occurred from all three species. Bottom fishing for red and gag grouper had been spotty on most days, but the drop in water temperature will force baitfish to migrate south and cause the grouper to be more receptive to the baits we present to them. Catch and release, because of the closed season, red snapper fishing in as shallow as 40 feet of water has provided unexpected thrill from these hard fighting fish especially on light tackle. Red snapper are voracious feeders and will swallow even circle hooks. If any fish is hooked deeply, simply cut the leader as close to the hook as possible and return the fish to the water. The small price of a hook is nothing compared to the future value of a fish. We have caught many healthy fish that have survived well with a hook embedded from being previously caught. The hooks will either rust out over time or be rejected by a normal process.

Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.

Comments

Captainís Corner: Bundle up and head out to the bay for bass, sheepshead

The water is cold, but that doesnít mean that fishing is over for the winter. There are still target species available that are fun to catch and will provide a fresh meal. Friday, we left the docks a little later than normal to give the sun a chance ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Live baits outperforming artificials

Amberjack have been the hot topic in the area since their season opened Jan. 1. Anglers have been targeting wrecks and other large structures in depths of 80-120 feet for these tackle-testing monsters. Although amberjack are caught on a wide variety ...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/20/18

Captainís Corner: What to expect from fish coming out of the cold spell

Extreme cold has brought backcountry water temperatures down. As in years past, extreme dips have shocked many fish, especially snook, which take the biggest hit and become extremely lethargic and often near death. Luckily the cold wonít be long, and...
Published: 01/19/18

Captainís Corner: Divers, anglers going after amberjack

Over the past two weeks divers and anglers have been in search of amberjack. The season opened Jan. 1 and ends Jan. 27. The short season for gulf amberjack has pushed many divers and anglers to venture offshore, even in questionable weather. Donít fo...
Published: 01/18/18

Captainís Corner: Cold weather brings different but effective fishing styles

This past week has seen a variety of different fishing styles prove effective. Fishing for trout in deeper depressions with live shrimp has provided steady action. Rig as follows: Use a ?-ounce jighead, grab a shrimp from the well and pinch the tail ...
Published: 01/17/18

Captainís Corner: Devise a strategy before heading out into the cold

The quality of fishing this month depends on how many cold fronts are in our future. When the water creeps down below 60 degrees, many fish will slow their metabolism in order to survive. They require less food than in the warmer months, making some ...
Published: 01/16/18

Captainís Corner: Make sure the fly gets in front of a hungry fish

Back-to-back winter cold fronts not only confuse inshore fish but the fly fishers who pursue them. The most perfectly tied fly is not effective unless it is in front of a fish that is anxious to eat it. The best daytime tides, very low early and inco...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/14/18

Captainís Corner: Cold, windy days just fine for trout fishing

Trout have been my most productive target during the start of this new year. Winter cold fronts and cold water are making conditions difficult to target snook and reds. Strong winds from passing fronts make it hard to work the shallow-water flats. Th...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/13/18

Captainís Corner: Cold driving out kings, but there are alternatives

Mother Nature gives and she takes away. Nature gave us warm water and great king fishing until Dec. 31. She ushered in the new year with a severe cold front with high winds and rough seas that kept us in port every day. The cold air and overcast skie...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18

Captainís Corner: Techniques for catching (and cooking) tasty sheepshead

Cold water has fishing in sort of slow motion. Middle bay temperatures (Gandy area) are holding in the 54-56 degree range. During this time of year the stalking of large snook and redfish take a back seat to finesse fishing and trying to figure out w...
Published: 01/10/18