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: Mackerel are in close and mangrove snapper are plentiful

What's hot: Mackerel are practically everywhere. We've caught them from the Sunshine Skyway bridge to well inside Tampa Bay. They are within 2 miles of shore from Clearwater to Anna Maria Island, and we ran into some in the 3- to 5-pound range Thursday about 10 miles off Pass-a-Grille in 42 feet of water. Though we have caught only a single kingfish so far this fall and it's too early to target them, we're only a cold front or two from increased activity.

Big numbers of mangrove snapper that we've chummed to the surface in 40 to 48 feet of water southwest of St. Pete Beach have become a bit more wary in the particularly clear water. Mangrove snapper have keen eyesight, and if you can see them, they can likely see you. Minimizing tackle may be required to trick them into eating. Eliminate the swivel, use 10-pound-test fluorocarbon if necessary, use a No. 1 hook or smaller, and at times a small chunk of bait will work better than a whole one.

Gathering bait: Whitebait have been abundant and easy to cast-net on flats and along the gulf beaches. Many can be seen "raining" on the surface. If they are not, diving birds will help give them away. Gather some live pinfish also. We've managed a handful of keeper grouper on each of our last several trips. With the water still warm, grouper have preferred the big live baits over frozen sardines or any dead stuff.

Tips: A variety of tackle is recommended. You'll want light spinning gear for the mackerel and mangrove snapper on the surface. About 20-pound tackle works well for snapper on the bottom, juvenile grouper, grunts and occasional flounder that are among the bycatch. In the clear water, we're getting more bites on stout grouper rods, using 30-pound line and 50-pound fluorocarbon leader over anything heavier.

Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.

Captains Corner: Mackerel are in close and mangrove snapper are plentiful 10/01/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 1, 2011 6:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends


    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.