Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Spanish mackerel time

What's hot: Probably the surest thing for anglers in the gulf now is Spanish mackerel. Larger fish have taken up residence on most nearshore artificial reefs, 4 to 6 miles offshore. They can be targeted in several ways; the most common is to troll No. 1 planers followed by 20 to 25 feet of 40-pound leader attached to a gold or silver small spoon. The key is not blind trolling, but locating the high profile structures on each reef and trolling figure-8 patterns around it so your lines are presented to the predators attacking the shelter-seeking baitfish. Another method is using live bait either caught on site by the use of sabiki or to net white bait inshore and take it to the reefs. Attract the mackerel by anchoring over a structure and deploying a chum bag along with slivers of cut baitfish. A live baitfish nose hooked with a long shanked gold hook will produce non-stop action. If you get too many cutoffs, use a small trace of light wire.

Tip: If you troll hardware (planers, spoons, or plugs) and have to go through a no-wake zone to get to the gulf, put a No. 1 planer and spoon out. The no-wake speed is almost perfect for trolling and it is amazing what can be caught by using this method. Through the years, species we have caught include Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, speckled and silver trout and grouper.

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

Rays

Marc Topkin

@TBTimes_Rays

Joe Smith

@TBTimes_Rays2

Lightning

Damian Cristodero

@LightningTimes

Sports Columnists

Gary Shelton

@Gary_Shelton

Tom Jones:

@TomWJones

Bucs

Rick Stroud

@NFLStroud

Stephen F. Holder

@HolderStephen

USF Bulls

Greg Auman

@GregAuman

UF Gators

Antonya English

@gatornews

HomeTeam

@TBHomeTeam

Comments
Captainís Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

Captainís Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

As water temperatures continue to climb, more and more permit are showing up on wrecks and ledges off the Suncoast area. These highly prized members of the jack family appear every spring and gather into large aggregations for spawning. Most of this ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Captainís Corner: Time nears for snook, tarpon out at the beaches

With summerlike air temperatures coming in the next couple of weeks, snook will be moving out to the beaches and tarpon will start cruising there. Itís my favorite time of year to fish. With snook on the beaches and passes, you would think their biol...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18

Captainís Corner: Variables are all that is constant when it comes to art of fishing

The unique variables and ever-changing conditions of fishing are what set it apart from most other sports. Basketball goals donít move, baseball diamonds are basically the same and tennis courts never change. Fishing, on the other hand, is constantly...
Published: 04/21/18

Captainís Corner: King mackerel the hot topic as gulf waters warm

King mackerel is always the hot topic this time of year, with tournaments every weekend for two months. Some believe that massive schools in the gulf migrate from their fall haunts in south Florida and the Keys to the north, with the larger females (...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

After significant winds from a front last week, things are calming down and fish are turning on again. Bait has gotten predictable and easier to chum on the flats after moving to deeper water during the front. Iíve been targeting trout at first light...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/19/18

Captainís Corner: Rush of warmer water in gulf heats up fishing on offshore reefs, wrecks

The rush of warmer water on our offshore reefs and wrecks in the Gulf of Mexico has brought with it a cadre of pelagic fish. Divers and anglers have enjoyed the influx of cobia, kingfish and more. The benthic (bottom) fish are splurging on the balls ...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Captainís Corner: Spring bite is solid despite wacky weather

Bipolar weather continues to confuse both fish and anglers. Fortunately the water temperature has gotten high enough that the effects donít last long and the spring bite continues to be solid. Snook are still the hot bite in many areas around the bay...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Captainís Corner: Kingfish, sharks provide aerial displays

Fishing was good this past Saturday, ahead of the cold front. We fished close to shore about 2 miles. Our approach was simple. We anchored the boat, fished with live baits and chummed heavily. Kingfish action was nonstop for the entire morning. We ca...
Published: 04/16/18

Captainís Corner: Trolling or anchoring up, kingfish bite is hot

Are you looking for line-screaming action? Head offshore. The kingfish bite has been good, though high winds may require a wait for the water to clear. The best numbers have been about 5 miles out on the hard bottom. Trolling for kingfish works well;...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/15/18

Captainís Corner: Spring run is the most wonderful time of the year

The full spring run of all species in our area is in full swing. Whatever species you would like to target, inshore or offshore, is as good as it gets this time of year. Redfish schools have shown up in the flats around Pinellas Point, but they are i...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18