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Captain's Corner

Captain's Corner: Spanish mackerel hot when kingfish aren't

What's hot: Kingfish action continues to be somewhat spotty even though conditions have been almost perfect. Winds have diminished, bait has shown up at their usual haunts, water temperature has reached the magical 72-76 degree range, but the fish have been small and widely scattered. In the past week we have experienced great action on both hardware and live bait with numerous strikes from fish that were just under the 24-inch fork length minimum. Hopefully the abundance of these smaller fish is an indication that we will still have a migration of larger kingfish passing our area as it has in years past.

Spanish mackerel have filled the gap left by the kingfish and can be found in large numbers near every pass entering the gulf and far up into Tampa Bay. Fishing for them has been best on an outgoing tide. Slow trolling live baitfish or No. 1 planers and small spoons from 100 yards off the shoreline to about 1 mile will produce large Spanish mackerel.

Bottom fishing has been excellent in the 50- to 60-foot depths for red and gag grouper. The warmer water has caused them to be more aggressive. Mangrove snapper can be found on almost every ledge in these depths. Because of the clear water, we have found it necessary to downsize tackle to 20-pound test on both the mainline and leader.

Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach and can be reached at or (727) 397-8815.

Captain's Corner: Spanish mackerel hot when kingfish aren't 05/01/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 1, 2009 9:43pm]
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