Friday, December 15, 2017
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Time to target kingfish, Spanish mackerel

It's time to break out the trolling tackle and concentrate on kingfish and their lesser cousins Spanish mackerel. The gulf erupted for us while bottom fishing in 60 feet of water southwest of John's Pass. The bottom fishing on a small ledge adjacent to a larger piece of jumbled rock bottom started producing white grunts, porgies, triggerfish, short red grouper and gags that would have been keepers beginning June 1. There were no strikes produced by a stinger rigged flatline with a frisky Spanish sardine caught with a sabiki rig, but when two bottom rigs were cut off and a kingfish was brought to the surface where it bit through the monofilament leader a change in tactics was called for. The live bait was substituted for a frozen sardine which was cast out and allowed to sink. A long run and battle by a kingfish ensued. Sardines were cut into small pieces and dropped off the transom to join the natural chum caused by the bottom fish expelling their stomach contents on the way to the surface. Two flatlines produced numerous kingfish hookups. A large cobia showed up in the chum line and refused everything presented to him. Live and dead sardines, pinfish and a blue runner all were tried with no success. A 30-inch gag grouper inhaled the blue runner, creating a memorable catch and release moment with the light kingfish tackle. Until next winter we will be deploying two flatlines, one with a frozen sardine and one with a live sardine or hardtail every time the anchor is dropped to bottom fish because every species of pelagic fish in our waters will be attracted to the commotion and chum being expelled.

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

Comments

Captainís Corner: Drop in gulf water temperature means itís sea trout time

The gulf temperature has dropped significantly since our first real cold front last week. One day the water was in the mid 70s, then after the front, it fell to the low 60s. That caused speckled sea trout to become a reliable target. Redfish have bee...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Good time for shallow-water flats fishing

Shallow-water flats fishing can be very exciting this time of year. Trout and redfish are available in good numbers, and the opportunities to catch some gator trout have made recent trips very rewarding. Some of the largest trout have been in very sk...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/13/17

Captainís Corner: Seek clear water for bottom fishing as temperatures plummet

The great weather, calm seas and exceptional fishing we experienced at the end of November and beginning of December came to a screeching halt with the cold front that came through. Surface water temperatures plummeted from an unseasonable 71 degrees...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Captainís Corner: Sheepshead action lively in cooler weather

Conditions after the cold front are cool and are going to be for a while. That doesnít mean you canít or shouldnít fish. Many anglers get stuck on snook, reds and trout and forget how fun it is to catch sheepshead. Many reefs are already holding good...
Published: 12/09/17
Updated: 12/10/17

Captainís Corner: Fishing will return to normal, but when?

The severity of this cold front will determine the fishing forecast for the next several days. Bait that had been abundant inshore will scatter. Nearshore gulf waters will muddy, and water temperatures. at least temporarily. will plummet. How cold, h...
Published: 12/08/17
Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

I canít believe we are in the last month of the year. And while this is one of my favorite months to fish, it will be controlled by weather. As cold fronts become more frequent and harsh, planning your trips around them will make the biggest differen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Captainís Corner: Strong results for redfish, speckled trout

This is a great time for variety. Combined trips for speckled trout and redfish are achieving excellent results. With the correct approach, great catches of both species are a reality now. The best anglers use the lightest tackle. Light rods and reel...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Captainís Corner: Take advantage of abundant gag grouper before season ends

Gag grouper fishing and spearing is hot. The season for these grouper in the Gulf of Mexico is winding down, with a slated closure at the end of this month. The cooler water has the gags moving closer, and they are happy when the bottom temperatures ...
Published: 12/05/17

Captainís Corner: Bait schools near shore drawing kings, mackerel, bonito

Nearshore fishing is still going strong in north Pinellas. Bait schools are roaming just a couple of miles offshore, attracting kingfish, Spanish mackerel and bonito. The beaches are still holding sardines for cast netting at sunrise. I like to have ...
Published: 12/03/17
Updated: 12/05/17

Captainís Corner: This is the month to target gag grouper

With our current regulations in the Gulf, this is the best month to target gag grouper. Although the gag grouper season opens in June they are hard to come by for most months unless anglers travel to depths of 240 feet or more. With each passing cold...
Published: 12/03/17
Updated: 12/04/17