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Captain's Corner: Schooling predators are just off the beaches

Inshore: If you're looking for fast action on light tackle, head to the gulf beaches. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish and jack crevalle have invaded the nearshore waters, attacking huge schools of anchovies (glass minnows) that have finally moved in. Typically, the glass minnows come to these areas in the spring, but for some reason the invasion is late this year. Regardless, they're here now.

The easiest way to find these packs of marauding fish is to look for birds. Flocks of diving brown pelicans with least and royal terns mixed in are a dead giveaway. Once you get close to the birds, look for the fish coming out of the water chasing the baitfish.

Tactics: One way to catch these fish is on a top­water plug or artificial bait. A MirrOlure 16mr11, which resembles a juvenile finger mullet, is deadly. The best technique is to get upwind of the school and cast downwind to it. Run the lure through the feeding fish and watch it get knocked out of the water.

Another way to catch these feeding fish is to use free-lined live bait. Small scaled sardines (whitebait) or threadfin herring (greenbacks) will not be ignored. It's best to use a long-shank hook with this technique to avoid being cut off by these toothy fish. Again, use the wind to your advantage.

Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376.

Captain's Corner: Schooling predators are just off the beaches 09/23/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 23, 2011 8:27pm]
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