Sunday, April 22, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Water temperatures confusing fish, anglers

Water temperatures have reached 70 degrees offshore, causing confusion for fish and fishermen alike. Before the recent cold front, we were catching many undersize kingfish (24-inch minimum fork length), with a few keepers mixed in. Now most of the fish are keepers between 24 and 31 inches. We are targeting the area from the South County artificial reef south to the shipping channel using Nos. 1 and 2 planers with medium and large gold or blue spoons. During normal trolling season, which typically begins in mid to late March, we like to start with planers and hardware to determine if kingfish, mackerel and bonita are in our targeted area. We then switch to live baits caught on site to match what the fish are feeding on to provide a more sporting way to catch them. This method should be working now, but it has not. Spoons and plugs trolled at 5.5 to 6 knots produce many fish. It has been frustrating to catch numerous live baits and find the fish unwilling to strike them. Grouper fishing still remains spotty in 60- to 90-foot depths, but there are many species to fill the gap. Mangrove, lane and vermilion snapper, along with white grunts, provide nonstop action and great table fare for those switching to light tackle. A two-hook snapper rig with 1/0 or 2/0 hooks with squid or pieces of sardine work best. Triggerfish and red snapper, both closed to harvest, have been providing exciting catch-and-release action on the light tackle. Red snapper are voracious feeders and often swallow the hook. If the hook cannot be easily removed, cut the leader as close as possible to the hook and release the fish, giving it a chance to reject the hook. Giving that fish a chance to survive is worth much more than a 25-cent hook.

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

Comments

Captainís Corner: Variables are all that is constant when it comes to art of fishing

The unique variables and ever-changing conditions of fishing are what set it apart from most other sports. Basketball goals donít move, baseball diamonds are basically the same and tennis courts never change. Fishing, on the other hand, is constantly...
Published: 04/21/18

Captainís Corner: King mackerel the hot topic as gulf waters warm

King mackerel is always the hot topic this time of year, with tournaments every weekend for two months. Some believe that massive schools in the gulf migrate from their fall haunts in south Florida and the Keys to the north, with the larger females (...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

After significant winds from a front last week, things are calming down and fish are turning on again. Bait has gotten predictable and easier to chum on the flats after moving to deeper water during the front. Iíve been targeting trout at first light...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/19/18

Captainís Corner: Rush of warmer water in gulf heats up fishing on offshore reefs, wrecks

The rush of warmer water on our offshore reefs and wrecks in the Gulf of Mexico has brought with it a cadre of pelagic fish. Divers and anglers have enjoyed the influx of cobia, kingfish and more. The benthic (bottom) fish are splurging on the balls ...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Captainís Corner: Spring bite is solid despite wacky weather

Bipolar weather continues to confuse both fish and anglers. Fortunately the water temperature has gotten high enough that the effects donít last long and the spring bite continues to be solid. Snook are still the hot bite in many areas around the bay...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Captainís Corner: Kingfish, sharks provide aerial displays

Fishing was good this past Saturday, ahead of the cold front. We fished close to shore about 2 miles. Our approach was simple. We anchored the boat, fished with live baits and chummed heavily. Kingfish action was nonstop for the entire morning. We ca...
Published: 04/16/18

Captainís Corner: Trolling or anchoring up, kingfish bite is hot

Are you looking for line-screaming action? Head offshore. The kingfish bite has been good, though high winds may require a wait for the water to clear. The best numbers have been about 5 miles out on the hard bottom. Trolling for kingfish works well;...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/15/18

Captainís Corner: Spring run is the most wonderful time of the year

The full spring run of all species in our area is in full swing. Whatever species you would like to target, inshore or offshore, is as good as it gets this time of year. Redfish schools have shown up in the flats around Pinellas Point, but they are i...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Captainís Corner: Spanish mackerel, kingfish showing up in big numbers

They are here! Spanish mackerel and kingfish have shown up in the numbers expected of them at this time of year. All we have to hope for is weather that will allow us to get offshore. In most years the hot spots have been the artificial reefs, shipwr...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/12/18

Captainís Corner: Offshore fishing heats up in spring

Spring is here and things are heating up offshore. Kingfish have arrived from Tarpon Springs to Anna Maria. Spanish mackerel are around many of the bridges and piers, and cobia have appeared on the wrecks. Our most interesting discovery last week was...
Published: 04/10/18
Updated: 04/11/18