Sunday, May 27, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Trolling, bottom fishing are hot

What's hot: Along with the weather, trolling and bottom fishing are on fire right now. Look for Spanish mackerel, bonita, barracuda and — surprising for this time of year — enough kingfish to make targeting them worth your while.

What else: Gag grouper season in the bay area opens Monday. The pelagic species can be targeted on any of the artificial reefs by trolling hardware — spoons, plugs and planers — or slow-trolling live bait caught on site with a Sabiki rigs. Trolling for gags is best done with large, small-lipped plugs or curly tailed jigs behind a No. 3 planer or a large "stretch" type of plug. Color seems to make a difference with gold or blue plugs being our choice. The gags are still inhabiting the areas we consider "winter" depths of 25-40 feet.

Still more: Red grouper are abundant in 60-80 feet over the flat limestone areas referred to as "swiss cheese" bottom because it does not show relief and large and small holes dot the rocks. Squid and frozen sardines work well, but it is always worthwhile to have live baits when the bite slows. This often indicates larger fish have moved in and a large live bait might trigger their bite.

Hint: Troll at 6 knots for the pelagic species and reduce to 4.5 when targeting gags.

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

Comments

Captainís Corner: Redfish bite strong on afternoon high tide

Early morning stops at jetty rock piles have produced excellent action for a variety of species. Snook, redfish and trout are the targets. Free-lining live pilchards against the rocks at the strong part of the tide is your best opportunity for snook,...
Published: 05/25/18
Updated: 05/26/18
Captainís Corner: Swimmer crabs attract big permit

Captainís Corner: Swimmer crabs attract big permit

The outgoing tides of last weekendís new moon washed thousands of small swimmer crabs, known locally as "pass crabs," out of the estuaries and into the gulf. This suddenly abundant food source offshore works as a natural chum line and draws big permi...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18

Speckled trout are our most prevalent species around the bay area. They spawn year-round, so their numbers are sustained. They are a flourishing species. For sport, trout are easier to catch than almost everything else we have in the Gulf of Mexico. ...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Captainís Corner: With full moon, tarpon are on the move

With the full moon this next week tarpon are moving down the beaches and making their way out of the bay and moving out to the bridges and the passes to feed before some of them leave to go out and spawn on the full moon. Early in the morning along t...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Captainís Corner: Cloudier water improves the bite

Windy conditions this week have actually slightly improved fishing. The waters of Saint Joseph sound had become so clear that it made finding fish easy, but getting bites very difficult. Snook have been gathering in great numbers all along the beache...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Captainís Corner: Red grouper fishing continues to be good

Red grouper fishing continues to be steady in depths of 100-120 feet. Large bait stacks are holding a fish or two, but larger concentrations are on very small rolls and potholes in those depths. Zooming in on the bottom 10-15 feet of the water column...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/20/18

Captainís Corner: Catching a giant cobia

Cobia is the topic this week. Capt. Tom Markham, aboard the Simply Hooked, was beginning his daily bait routine. It turned out that one of the markers located near Clearwater Pass, surprisingly, had a giant fish waiting for him. The captain slid up t...
Published: 05/16/18

Captainís Corner: Tarpon showing up on beaches, bridges

This week shouldnít be a total wash out. While there is a chance of rain every day, it should only be sporadic. Hopefully it wonít dirty up the water too much. If you are a tarpon fisherman and look forward to their arrival like I do, then you are in...
Published: 05/14/18
Updated: 05/15/18

Captainís Corner: This is best time of year for bay area fishing

Itís the best time of year for fishing in the area. Tarpon can be targeted off of any of the bridges. The Gandy, Howard Frankland and Skyway are my top choices. While awaiting a tarpon strike, I kill time by dropping smaller baits for Spanish mackere...
Published: 05/13/18

Captainís Corner: Change tactics for fly fishing success

Most fly fishers would prefer minimum wind and cloudless skies to increase chances for a banner day. This has been a problem lately. The wind makes casting more difficult, unless very experienced, and clouds interfere with sight casting opportunities...
Published: 05/11/18
Updated: 05/14/18