Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Captain's Corner

Captains corner: Light-tackle action for speedy predators rising

What's hot: Fishing with a fly rod or light spinning tackle is fun right now. Bait fry have been moving into the bay for better than a month and the predatory fish are on their tails. Mackerel, jacks, bonito, ladyfish and bluefish are having their way with these pint-size baits from Egmont Key to far up the bay. Except for the mackerel, these speedy predators are not noted for table fare, but they do offer exciting and fast action for the light-tackle enthusiast.

Baits: Although most any bait may work during a feeding frenzy, try to "match the hatch" for more hook ups. As a rule, these fish are feeding on very small baits and may not take a larger offering. Small casting spoons retrieved rapidly will draw constant strikes. Small white or red flies might be a better choice if you're handy with the fly rod.

Scouting: Diving birds give away the location of bait schools and predators. Feeding fish drive minnows to the surface, attracting the birds, which attack the baits from above. The trick is to be there when the feed is on. This may last only a minute or two. Once the "mack attack" is over, they'll dive and resurface some distance away. So keep an eye on the birds. From above they can follow the fish to the next bait school. Stay with the birds and you'll stay with the fish.

Paul Hawkins runs Flats Guy charters out of St. Petersburg and be reached at (727) 560-6762.

Captains corner: Light-tackle action for speedy predators rising 03/17/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 17, 2011 7:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Cubs, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Cubs

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    Chris Archer's night ended with his 11th loss, but he and the Rays should feel good about his six solid innings. After the forearm tightness scare in Chicago, he had two rough outings (15 hits, 11 runs, seven innings), so Tuesday was a reassuring rebound.

  4. At 6-8, Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov comes with, and needs, a high ceiling

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked that the 6-foot-8 defenseman could reach the Amalie Arena ceiling.

    Lightning 6-foot-8 defenseman Oleg Sosunov competes in the preseason opener. Phil Esposito jokes that Sosunov can reach the ceiling at Amalie Arena.
  5. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494