What's hot: Monday is Columbus Day, the traditional start of the fall pelagic fishing season in our area. Spanish mackerel, kingfish, cobia, bonita and barracuda have begun their southward migration from the Panhandle to the Keys and farther south. Although the major concentrations are a few weeks away, it's worth pursuing those that have arrived.
Specifics: Spanish mackerel of all sizes can be seen tearing through baitfish from 100 yards from shore out to 60-foot depths. Kingfish and cobia can be found near high-profile structures such as artificial reefs, wrecks and the markers along the Egmont Shipping Channel. Bonita are attacking baitfish almost everywhere and produce great catch-and-release action. Barracuda have started feeding heavily in preparation for the cold water, which will force their departure from our area. They will strike large, slow-trolled blue runners.
Tactics: All can be caught by trolling a variety of planer/spoon combinations or slow-trolling live bait. Trolling hardware at 6 knots allows you to switch to slow-trolled live baits that produce more sport on light tackle.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.