What's hot: The South County artificial reef, near the "Betty Rose," ledges and hard-bottom areas produced Spanish mackerel, kingfish, gag grouper (catch, photo and release) and enough keeper red grouper and white grunts for several dinners.
Tactics: We tried many combinations while trolling for gags and settled on two. The first was a No. 3 planer on a 50-pound class outfit and 30 feet of 60-pound leader with a gold broken-backed hard-bodied lure, a large jig head with a shad or a curly tailed soft, plastic tail. Drags must be set at the point where there is just enough pressure to prevent slippage when trolling at 5 to 5½ knots. If set tighter, the line will snap. The second combination, a No. 2 planer with a large spoon, came after we caught several kingfish on the grouper tackle. Mixed in with the kings were large Spanish mackerel.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.