Thursday, March 22, 2018

Captain's Corner: Target mackerel, kingfish

What's hot: Mackerel and kingfish are starting to show up. Mackerel are hanging over the hard bottom just off the beach. Reports of large kingfish are coming from as far south as Boca Grande. The large kings lead the pack during the migration from the north. The first strong cold front will drop the water temperature and push larger schools of mackerel and kings into our area. Other fish, including cobia and sharks, will be mixed in the migration. When the wind is out of the east, target areas closer to the beach. A westerly wind will push the schools farther offshore.

Tackle: The best way to get in on the action is to mackerel fish. Set up over areas of hard bottom with a chum block and a well full of whitebait. Deploy the block and start chumming with live whitebait. When you start catching mackerel, save a few to use as bait. For sharks, rig a large chunk of mackerel on 50-pound test with a steel leader. Let the chunk free-line behind the boat. Cobia will also feed on the shark rig. Use a live mackerel under a float to get a shot at a large kingfish. It's best to have a float on the anchor line so you can throw the anchor line and chase down the kingfish.

Pro tip: Target areas that have birds working the area. They will be feeding on scraps left on the surface during a mackerel feed.

Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.


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...
Updated: 8 hours ago

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

Captainís Corner: Warming trend increasing activity over grass flats

Water temperatures have finally started to climb into the low 70s on the flats. The temperatures have been fluctuating with the past few cold fronts moving through. Large schools of reds should start showing up on the flats in the Pinellas Point area...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/13/18
Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

We traditionally look at two holidays to signal the start of trolling season for kingfish and Spanish mackerel along with their attendant migratory companions, blackfin tuna, cobia and barracuda. These are St. Patrickís Day (March 17) and Columbus Da...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/12/18