Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Predators attack juvenile glass minnows

On the move: A migration of juvenile glass minnows has sent predators our way. As soon as we left the pass Saturday, we witnessed masses of the 1-inch baitfish. We spotted the bulk of them on the sonar machine. Also, there were visible attacks of small mackerel and bonito frothing the surface as they fed. It was exciting to watch hundreds of tiny glass minnows get thrown in all directions as the fish worked the schools. We found concentrations out to 10 miles before thinning out. As fall approaches, these baitfish will move closer to the beach. Their eastward movement will eventually bring larger fish our way.

Megalops Atlanticus: Tarpon are one of the first predators to camp out in these massive schools, feeding for weeks. They stay in the same locations for long periods of time to gorge themselves. They, too, are exciting to watch as they round the bait schools into tight balls then race through them with their mouths wide open. The tarpon try to inhale as many as possible in one shot, often hundreds at a time. The feeding commotion attracts other species, including cobia, kingfish, lady fish, blue fish, shark and jack cravelles.

Bottom fish: Gag grouper will be more prevalent on the ledges and rock piles that hold bait schools. As the water cools, more grouper will follow.

Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or visit jawstoo.com.

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