What's hot: Stabilized water temperatures have created great fishing offshore for many species. Spanish mackerel and bonita can be seen crashing into schools of baitfish from within 100 yards offshore to 40-foot depths. It is not necessary to fish deep in the water column. Lighter tackle, a No. 1 planer, a 2-ounce trolling sinker and a small lipped plug are sufficient to reach the feeding fish. The size of the artificial lure presented is critical. Start with a mix of sizes and 00 spoons that are not too small.
Technique: We usually start trolling using three lines. One is equipped with a very small (00) spoon, one with a No. 1 spoon and the third with a small hard-bodied plug. Staggering the distance the lines are put out helps eliminate tangles. Once a particular combo has received several strikes, all three lines are switched to that one.
Tip: Large solitary kingfish are still cruising the 40- to 60-foot depths, where we have been concentrating our bottom fishing and have been caught on stinger-rigged flatlines. Frozen and live Spanish sardines have produced, but this late in the season it has been hard to beat a live blue runner.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.