What's hot: Over the past several months, Spanish mackerel fishing hasn't been as consistent as years past. However, recently there has been an increase in the number caught just offshore, likely because of the abundance of baitfish. As we see more schools of bait we should see more mackerel closing in to feed on them.
Curious by nature, sharks will move in to investigate the commotion created by feeding fish, and they will take advantage of the mackerel being distracted. Drifting a large bait in the area of the feeding frenzy will likely bring a strike from a shark.
Recent trips: Crane service owner Rob Miller took his boys out fishing for grouper. One of the rods went off with a strike from a fish that obviously wasn't a grouper. Miller said it turned out to be a 15-pound king mackerel. Expect to see king mackerel activity increase closer to shore in the coming weeks and get even better into October.
Guide Bill Fehl found a number of keeper grouper at a depth of around 30 feet near the St. Pete Beach reef. Pinfish have not been as productive as using frozen sardines for bait. Fehl indicated that the keeper grouper are slow to start feeding but well worth the wait. Other reports of grouper in 50- to 60-foot depths have surfaced. Most say the smaller red grouper are thick so you will need to pick through them to get to the keepers.
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Marlins Dockside at John's Pass Marina on Treasure Island. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit Captain LarryBlue.com.