What's hot: We often use the phrase "Fish have fins and tails" when they have moved from the previous day's location that provided a great catch. This is especially true this time of year when our attention has turned to the pelagic kingfish, Spanish mackerel, cobia, bonito and the occasional sailfish that pass through our area to their summertime feeding and spawning grounds in the northern gulf.
Besides fins and tails, they all have stomachs and must feed heavily to fuel their migration. The cardinal rule when targeting any migratory species is find the bait and you will find the fish. Threadfin herring, Spanish sardines, blue runners and other baitfish are structure-oriented for several reasons. One is protection; they want a place to hide. Another is food; structure of any kind provides an upwelling of current, which concentrates the plankton and other materials on which they feed.
Artificial reefs, wrecks, limestone outcroppings and channel markers with their anchor chains are prime structure that hold bait. The best and least damaged baits are those caught by Sabiki rigs, which come in various sizes. The most commonly used sizes are No. 6 and No. 8.
Sabiki tips: 1. Using a 3- or 4-ounce weight keeps the rig straighter and less prone to tangles when multiple or large baits are hooked. 2. Tipping the two bottom hooks with small pieces of squid will produce pinfish along with the other baits. 3. Always deploy a bait on a stinger rig while catching baits. Chances are there are larger fish in the area.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.