Make us your home page
Instagram

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: Mackerel, gag grouper are on the move

It only takes a short run to target king mackerel and gag grouper as both species are making their fall migrations.

Gag grouper are headed for the shallows, and the migration pattern is the same each year. During the past month the main push of gags has been north of the bay area, with great catches coming in the 40- to 60-foot depths from west of Bayport, south to the 60- and 70-foot depths west of the Anclote area. With the coming of cold fronts we should see these fish head farther south through our area and toward Sarasota. Concentrate your efforts at depths of 50 to 60 feet and along limestone ledges.

If a trophy gag is what you're after, check the 40-fathom Curve, a well-defined ridge in 240 feet that runs from the Dry Tortugas north to Louisiana. This ridge used to be just for commercial fisherman, but with the introduction of the larger and faster offshore boats it is within reach. This ridge is a great place for huge amberjack, big gags and red snapper (when in season).

Trolling well offshore has been on the slow side. With weak currents and virtually no weed lines, the fish are scattered. But the Elbow area has produced some wahoo and mahi-mahi action. This area of large 20- to 25-foot protrusions on the ocean floor about 70 nautical miles west of John's Pass. Rigged ballyhoo with a red-and-white Islander has worked best.

Cobia can be found around some of the nearshore reefs (Indian Shores, Rube Allen) and wrecks (Blackthorn). These fish rarely feed at night, so getting on site as early as possible is best. Start on the up tide or up wind side (whichever is stronger) of the wreck or reef and shut off the engine. Rig a 60- to 80-pound leader and a hand-sized pinfish with no lead or swivel. While drifting over the spot, keep a lookout for these fish just under the surface. Cobia are one of the only fish that mate for life, so keep a second rod ready for when bringing a fish boat side, as double- and tripleheaders are possible.

Further inshore the action is right off the beaches. Mackerel can be found just about everywhere the bait is, from Clearwater south to Sarasota.

Kingfish are scattered. Fish are being caught in depths from 10 to 80 feet. Target these fish with baits found in the same areas you are fishing. For example, when fishing the beach bluefish and threadfin herring will do best. When fishing offshore around wrecks or in the shipping channel, cigar minnows, blue runners and Spanish sardines are getting the best results.

Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 or www.fintasticinc.com.

Captain's corner: Mackerel, gag grouper are on the move 10/16/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 16, 2008 8:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick and Tom podcast: Bucs' Gerald McCoy frustrated with disrespectful fans

    Bucs

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss Gerald McCoy's latest comments on disrespectful fans who attack his teammates, Donald Trump, protests by DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans, and his respect for the …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) warms up before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  2. NFL owners' unity with players might be short-lived

    Bucs

    The image was striking — several owners of NFL teams locking arms with their players on the sidelines Sunday, and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones on Monday night, in a dramatic statement of defiance to a president who ridiculed their sport and condemned players for refusing to stand during the national anthem as a …

    Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, currently without a team, has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for not standing during the national anthem. [Associated Press]
  3. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity

    Bucs

    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.
  4. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says players who kneel have team's support

    Sports

    TAMPA — Receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the only Bucs players kneeling during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Vikings, but DT Gerald McCoy said the team supports their protest "100 percent."

    Bucs tight end Cameron Brate pulls in a touchdown catch as Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (34) hits him in the back of the head.
  5. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    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)