Thursday, July 19, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Spanish mackerel aplenty around Treasure Island artificial

After canceling five days in a row because of weather, we ventured offshore anxious to see what we would find Tuesday. With the northeast wind, sea conditions were great from the shoreline out to 3 miles, then the seas started to build because we were no longer in the lee of the shore. We deployed two lines with No. 1 planers and small gold and silver spoons as soon as the Intracoastal depth reached 10 feet leaving John's Pass. It is a no wake zone and idling speed between 5-6 knots is ideal for trolling. We landed six Spanish mackerel and one ladyfish before reaching the bridge and the gulf. Trolling south toward Blind Pass produced spotty action from mackerel, and I considered returning to the bay side of John's Pass, but the consensus was to go offshore as far as reasonable with the wind and sea conditions. Treasure Island artificial was the next target, and the Spanish mackerel were larger and more plentiful. Switching one rod to a No. 2 planer and a larger spoon produced much larger fish along with a kingfish. The highlight of the reef was a 25- to 30-pound blacktip shark that inhaled a stinger rigged skipped ballyhoo and put up a memorable battle on 20-pound class tackle. Madeira Beach artificial reef was the next spot we tried, and it produced Spanish mackerel and a barracuda. Bottom fish were targeted for the rest of the trip 3 to 5 miles north of the reef and using squid and frozen sardines.

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

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