Saturday, March 24, 2018

Captains corner: Spring mackerel migration promises to be more plentiful than fall

What's hot: St. Patrick's Day (Saturday) and Columbus Day (Oct. 10) are the holidays that signify the usual start of the spring and fall kingfish runs. The 2011 fall run was disappointing for Tampa Bay anglers. The spring season is a little ahead of schedule because of the mild winter and the almost-perfect water temperatures in our area. Kingfish, Spanish mackerel and bonito can be found in schools of various sizes from within 100 yards of shore near any of the passes out to the 10 Fathom depths. We recently fished for mackerel using No. 1 planers and No. 1 spoons just outside the swim buoys between John's Pass and Pass-a-Grille.

Tip: There are many juvenile kingfish mixed in with the Spanish mackerel. Spanish mackerel must be 12 inches, fork length, for harvest. King mackerel must be 24 inches, fork length.

The 40- and 60-foot depths have proved productive for kingfish, while both trolling No. 1 and No. 2 planers with larger spoons or slow-trolling with live sardines or hard tails. On a recent trip, the kingfish almost became a nuisance while bottom fishing. A stinger-rigged flat line with a dead sardine retrieved with an inshore "walk the dog" action resulted in multiple hookups.

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


Captainís Corner: Take advantage of this weekís favorable weather

Gusty winds and small craft advisories much of this past week hampered most of the offshore fishing. With lighter winds and warmer temperatures forecast, this might be the week to get out and take advantage. Water temperatures are cooler than we like...
Updated: 28 minutes ago

Captainís Corner: Erratic weather making offshore fishing unpredictable

Continued heavy winds have kept offshore fisheries from settling in to predictable patterns. When things have calmed, nearshore baitfish have bunched up and kingfish and Spanish mackerel settled in around them. Unfortunately, each cold front has chur...
Published: 03/23/18

Captainís Corner: Snook bite is best now in afternoon

So what happened to our spring weather in February? The weather has the fish moving back and forth between their winter and summer spots, and with April just a few weeks away, the air temperature is warming up and should be in the upper 70s and low 8...
Published: 03/21/18
Updated: 03/22/18

Captainís Corner: Windy conditions limit fishing options

The weather and water temperature roller coaster continues. Finding consistent action has been difficult with windy conditions keeping us from fishing many open parts of the bay or out into the gulf. Hiding in secluded backwater areas or on leeward s...
Published: 03/20/18
Updated: 03/21/18

Captainís Corner: Grouper moving in as water temperatures rise

Red grouper have made their move inshore this past week as waters closer to shore have warmed up a bit. Concentrate your efforts on hard bottom areas in depths of 100-120 feet for the rest of the month, and remember that all shallow water grouper are...
Published: 03/18/18
Updated: 03/20/18

Captainís Corner: Cold causes spiny lobsters to go into hiding

The cold front that ended Wednesday drove the offshore bottom temperatures back down into the low 60s. On dives Friday, my dive computer read 62 degrees at the bottom in 54 feet of water. On the next dive it read 60 in 62 feet. We were looking for ho...
Published: 03/18/18

Captainís Corner: Snook are the hot bite

Surface water temperatures have dipped into the low 60s, but the fish donít seem to mind. The longer days get the temperature up and helps keep it from getting into the danger zone at night. Snook have been the hot bite this past week and, believe it...
Published: 03/16/18
Updated: 03/17/18

It has been a crazy month regarding all the drastic weather changes. We experienced a record-breaking warming trend in February, followed by an endless amount of cold weather this month. The arrival times for many spring migrations of fish has been i...
Published: 03/16/18

Captainís Corner: Big trout moving out of the shallows

February seemed like March with record-breaking heat, but now March seems like February with below-average temperatures. This is a good thing. Spring fishing has started way too early in the past few years. The cold-water temperature we have now will...
Published: 03/14/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Captainís Corner: Temperature changes affect fly fishing

Having a fantastic river trip one day where we caught a lot of snook in shallow water on a fly and going back to the same location three days later and not finding any cooperative fish can be very puzzling. What happened? Recent warm weather was repl...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/14/18