Monday, January 22, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Stone crab season can benefit anglers

Persistent east winds can make offshore fishing a challenge. A strong east wind might create an uncomfortable sea farther offshore; closer to shore the wind is buffeted by buildings along the beach towns. When the wind blows consistently in that direction, the fish follow it right up to the beach. Staying within a mile or two allows for more favorable fishing conditions. Calm water keeps baitfish closer to shore, closer to the surface, and easier to find. Find the bait — find the fish. Stone crab season has begun and perhaps you've noticed the myriad of brightly colored buoys just offshore. Well, those marker buoys are for the stone crab traps below. These traps are loaded with different baits used to attract the crabs. The fresh bait in the traps might inadvertently create a chum slick, which for anglers has an unintended benefit; they attract baitfish that in turn attracts bigger fish, namely king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, cobia and sharks. Carefully negotiate around these markers to find all of these fish. Stay well clear of the traps to avoid snagging your lines on them, thereby losing your prized catch. Several anglers have been complaining that while they are fishing for king mackerel, sharks have been harassing their baits. Some anglers actually like catching sharks, others not so much. Shark fishing has been about as good as it gets. There are a good number of blacktip spinner sharks in the area; these are some of the best eating of the species. As a personal rule, I release all of the females, keeping only the males.

Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit captainlarryblue.com.

Comments

Captainís Corner: Bundle up and head out to the bay for bass, sheepshead

The water is cold, but that doesnít mean that fishing is over for the winter. There are still target species available that are fun to catch and will provide a fresh meal. Friday, we left the docks a little later than normal to give the sun a chance ...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Live baits outperforming artificials

Amberjack have been the hot topic in the area since their season opened Jan. 1. Anglers have been targeting wrecks and other large structures in depths of 80-120 feet for these tackle-testing monsters. Although amberjack are caught on a wide variety ...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/20/18

Captainís Corner: What to expect from fish coming out of the cold spell

Extreme cold has brought backcountry water temperatures down. As in years past, extreme dips have shocked many fish, especially snook, which take the biggest hit and become extremely lethargic and often near death. Luckily the cold wonít be long, and...
Published: 01/19/18

Captainís Corner: Divers, anglers going after amberjack

Over the past two weeks divers and anglers have been in search of amberjack. The season opened Jan. 1 and ends Jan. 27. The short season for gulf amberjack has pushed many divers and anglers to venture offshore, even in questionable weather. Donít fo...
Published: 01/18/18

Captainís Corner: Cold weather brings different but effective fishing styles

This past week has seen a variety of different fishing styles prove effective. Fishing for trout in deeper depressions with live shrimp has provided steady action. Rig as follows: Use a ?-ounce jighead, grab a shrimp from the well and pinch the tail ...
Published: 01/17/18

Captainís Corner: Devise a strategy before heading out into the cold

The quality of fishing this month depends on how many cold fronts are in our future. When the water creeps down below 60 degrees, many fish will slow their metabolism in order to survive. They require less food than in the warmer months, making some ...
Published: 01/16/18

Captainís Corner: Make sure the fly gets in front of a hungry fish

Back-to-back winter cold fronts not only confuse inshore fish but the fly fishers who pursue them. The most perfectly tied fly is not effective unless it is in front of a fish that is anxious to eat it. The best daytime tides, very low early and inco...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/14/18

Captainís Corner: Cold, windy days just fine for trout fishing

Trout have been my most productive target during the start of this new year. Winter cold fronts and cold water are making conditions difficult to target snook and reds. Strong winds from passing fronts make it hard to work the shallow-water flats. Th...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/13/18

Captainís Corner: Cold driving out kings, but there are alternatives

Mother Nature gives and she takes away. Nature gave us warm water and great king fishing until Dec. 31. She ushered in the new year with a severe cold front with high winds and rough seas that kept us in port every day. The cold air and overcast skie...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18

Captainís Corner: Techniques for catching (and cooking) tasty sheepshead

Cold water has fishing in sort of slow motion. Middle bay temperatures (Gandy area) are holding in the 54-56 degree range. During this time of year the stalking of large snook and redfish take a back seat to finesse fishing and trying to figure out w...
Published: 01/10/18