The unrelenting strong east wind and small craft advisories have kept us either in port or very close to shore for the past two weeks. When the wind is from the east, water often appears calm offshore while you're standing on the shore or boating close to it. Once protection of the shoreline is left, the gulf can become dangerous. When wind is strong and out of the west, there is no question as to sea conditions. The waves build up offshore and increase when approaching shallower water near shore. I keep a pair of binoculars in my car and a pair onboard the boat for use when winds are easterly and strong. Focusing on the horizon quickly allows one to make the decision to either stay in port or troll close to the beach. Trolling with small spoons and plugs has been productive within a mile of the shoreline for Spanish mackerel and scattered kingfish. The bait has gathered close to shore seeking protection from the offshore rough weather. Patient anglers are finding kingfish from Blind Pass to Pass-a-Grille by anchoring and deploying chum bags, cut pieces of sardines, and large live baits such as ladyfish and blue runners at various depths by the use of balloons. Sharks of many species and sizes can be found also.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.