This has been a strange year for offshore fishing in the Gulf of Mexico for many of our species. In the spring, kingfish season is considered to be the entire month of April and the first two weeks of May. Not only are the kingfish here in force, but other pelagic species such as Spanish mackerel, cobia, bonita and barracuda take up residence for the summer. We targeted kingfish on the wrecks and at the end of the shipping channel on a daily basis until Hurricane Hermine blew threw. Spanish mackerel fishing was spotty all summer and has just now come on strong. The same for barracuda, which seem to have followed the mackerel into our area. Bottom fishing has been spotty for red and gag grouper, requiring many stops. Downsizing to No. 12 class spinning or bait-casting tackle has been key for white grunts, mangrove, Lane and vermillion snapper. Normally the fall kingfish season starts around Columbus Day (Oct. 10), but their southward migration might be delayed by warm water temperatures.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.