Sunday, March 18, 2018

Captain's Corner: Plenty of action even as water cools

Even though water temperatures have dropped below 70 degrees there are still plenty of Spanish mackerel, kingfish, and bonita around to keep both live bait and hardware trollers busy. Many large kingfish are still patrolling the waters along the coast within a mile of the shoreline. Target these solitary fish by either slow trolling large live baits such as mullet, mackerel or ladyfish with stinger rigs or anchoring and employing a chum bag along with small slices of Spanish sardines and the same large baits. Targeting these large fish requires a lot of patience waiting for a strike. Spanish mackerel can also be caught in the same areas by trolling No. 1 planers and small spoons. The smaller "schoolie" kingfish and large mackerel are best targeted on the midwinter artificial reefs and surrounding hard bottom areas such as South County, Indian Shores and Veteran's. Once a strike occurs, hit the MOB button on your GPS and return to the same spot. Kingfish seem to be schooled up in small groups on hard bottom or reef structure. Red and gag grouper, white grunts, mangrove and Lane snapper have been biting best in 45- to 65-foot depths, frozen sardines and squid being the bait of choice. We carry live pinfish on every trip and have not had much success with the live bait. This will change as soon as the baitfish in our area migrate south and pinfish will often trigger a strike after the bite slows down on the frozen bait.

Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.


Captainís Corner: Cold causes spiny lobsters to go into hiding

The cold front that ended Wednesday drove the offshore bottom temperatures back down into the low 60s. On dives Friday, my dive computer read 62 degrees at the bottom in 54 feet of water. On the next dive it read 60 in 62 feet. We were looking for ho...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Snook are the hot bite

Surface water temperatures have dipped into the low 60s, but the fish donít seem to mind. The longer days get the temperature up and helps keep it from getting into the danger zone at night. Snook have been the hot bite this past week and, believe it...
Published: 03/16/18
Updated: 03/17/18

It has been a crazy month regarding all the drastic weather changes. We experienced a record-breaking warming trend in February, followed by an endless amount of cold weather this month. The arrival times for many spring migrations of fish has been i...
Published: 03/16/18

Captainís Corner: Big trout moving out of the shallows

February seemed like March with record-breaking heat, but now March seems like February with below-average temperatures. This is a good thing. Spring fishing has started way too early in the past few years. The cold-water temperature we have now will...
Published: 03/14/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Captainís Corner: Temperature changes affect fly fishing

Having a fantastic river trip one day where we caught a lot of snook in shallow water on a fly and going back to the same location three days later and not finding any cooperative fish can be very puzzling. What happened? Recent warm weather was repl...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/14/18

Captainís Corner: Warming trend increasing activity over grass flats

Water temperatures have finally started to climb into the low 70s on the flats. The temperatures have been fluctuating with the past few cold fronts moving through. Large schools of reds should start showing up on the flats in the Pinellas Point area...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/13/18
Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

We traditionally look at two holidays to signal the start of trolling season for kingfish and Spanish mackerel along with their attendant migratory companions, blackfin tuna, cobia and barracuda. These are St. Patrickís Day (March 17) and Columbus Da...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/12/18

Captainís Corner: Spring fishing is getting close

When the weather settles down in the bay area, spring fishing should shift quickly into high gear. Just before the recent heavy winds arrived and churned the nearshore gulf into a muddy mess, seasonal migratory fish were showing up all over town. For...
Published: 03/10/18
Updated: 03/11/18

Captainís Corner: Trout return to their early spring areas

Cool air has filtered down, giving us hopefully the last cold blow for awhile. Recent fronts have shaken things up. But fishing has been good considering the weather. Trout have pushed into their early spring areas, basically where they were five wee...
Published: 03/10/18
Captainís Corner: Snook, trout out in abundance as spring approaches

Captainís Corner: Snook, trout out in abundance as spring approaches

March is here, and the weather is great. This month is when we make that change toward spring fishing. Snook really ramps up, and trophy trout mixed with good redfish are not far behind. Snook has to be the most targeted fish for March. Just about ev...
Published: 03/09/18