Winter? What winter? With 80-degree days, it does not feel like February. What effect the weather has on migration patterns is anybody's guess. But I can tell you many fish are already here. And I suspect more soon will follow. King and Spanish mackerel usually begin their migration based on the angle of the sun and moon on the earth. However, the warmer temperatures might speed that up by several weeks. I have boated a few king mackerel and an incredible amount of bonita over the past couple of weeks. Large schools of bonita mixed with mackerel have been seen near the shore in the morning.
What to look for: About a mile or two from the beach, you might notice flocks of seabirds diving. If you move close enough, you will see bait being chased by bonita and birds trying to steal the bait or scoop up the leftovers. If you don't have live bait to toss at the scene, troll small mackerel spoons at 4-5 knots on No. 1 planers.
Light tackle: If trolling isn't for you, hooking a bonita on light tackle is the consummate sport fishing. They aren't much for table fare, but they are fun to catch.
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit CaptainLarryBlue.com.