What's hot: This is a month of numerous migratory fish coming together. One can experience the pull of a tarpon along the shore or head offshore and target several species. Kingfish have settled on many hardbottom areas in the gulf. We have consistently hooked them in 45 feet and deeper. The best spots for bait are artificial reefs. Public maps provide their locations.
Catching bait: Schools of spawning pilchards have been located near many structures in 30-40 feet. They are huddled on the bottom and normally will stay there until the end of May. Gold-hook bait rigs will produce a variety of bait. After filling the livewells, you can immediately start fishing at these same locations.
Bottom fishing: Red grouper remains steady in 65 feet and deeper. The season has not been as grand as past years, but signs are promising. Numerous bait stacks in 90 feet are slowly moving eastward. These schools are often the catalyst for a great summer of bottom fishing. With a steady food source, red grouper will follow the same path. The bottom line: It's all about the location of bait.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or visit jawstoo.com.