What's hot: The first arrival of sardines and cigar minnows has been spotted in the area. This means that the springtime pelagics such as king, Spanish mackerel, blackfin tuna, sailfish and wahoo will soon be taking up residence in our area waters.
Changing tactics: Since grouper and red snapper season is closed, we are focusing on other species. Trolling reefs and wrecks with sardines and cigar minnows should produce action, with amberjack and barracuda being the most reliable. Another technique is anchoring over these same places and sending the baits behind the boat under balloons while heavily chumming the area with sardines and menhaden oil.
Lighten up: When anchoring over these reefs and wrecks, be sure to stop at least 100 feet in front of the spot. A couple of chum blocks on the right spots should assist in getting the snapper to start feeding. Lighter spinning gear is a great way to catch these fish.
Live chum: A cast net session at the area bridges before sunup should yield good chum. A well full of live horse minnows and scaled sardines will cause good action offshore. About 30 minutes after anchoring, throw in a few dozen baits to get the fish biting.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at fintasticinc.com or (727) 642-3411.