Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Prepping for everything

What's hot: Red grouper, white grunts, and mangrove snapper have been our main targets in 50- to 70-foot depths. The legal red grouper size is 20 inches overall. A stinger-equipped flat line on every bottom stop has produced several memorable fish lately. Large Spanish mackerel, gag grouper, kingfish, barracuda and a tiger shark have all been drawn in by bottom fishing and the natural chum slick produced when bottom fish expel their stomach contents.

Tip: Put out two flat lines, one with a nose hooked frozen Spanish sardine and the other with a live bait such as a blue runner, live sardine, or hardtail, to cover much of the water column.

Tactics: Last week we were unprepared for the school of mahi-mahi that appeared under the boat as we bottom-fished in 70 feet of water. From now on we will have one or two 10- to 12-pound class rods rigged with 2/0 gold hooks ready. Our usual drill is to chum with small slivers of sardine. Chumming with large chunks only feeds them and they will soon move on. Use a small gold hook; this lets a piece of bait the size of the chum fall naturally. Because these fish feed so voraciously, keep several hooks handy.

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

Comments

Captainís Corner: Warming waters, better visibility are good signs

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Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/19/18

Captainís Corner: Flats coming to life in north Pinellas County

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Published: 02/18/18

Captainís Corner: Bait a challenge, but effort will pay off

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Published: 02/16/18
Updated: 02/17/18

Captainís Corner: Springtime fishing patterns moving in

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Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/15/18

Captainís Corner: Get an early start when chasing redfish

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Published: 02/13/18

Captainís Corner: Baitfish in the shallows improves fly fishing

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Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/16/18

Captainís Corner: Action picking up as temperature rises

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Published: 02/11/18
Updated: 02/12/18

Captainís Corner: Topwater plugs a great option as warming trend continues

Warm weather for the past week has led to an increase in feeding activity for inshore fish species. Speckled trout have been venturing out of deep holes and channels and back into shallow water to feed. This has presented a great opportunity to fish ...
Published: 02/10/18
Updated: 02/11/18

Captainís Corner: Sardines make a great bait

Bait has made its way into the bay and the fish have been eating sardines with violent strikes. Look deep for bait, most of it has been in 20-plus feet of water. A little knowledge of how to read a bottom machine will help you secure the prized sardi...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/10/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing conditions have started to improve

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Published: 02/08/18