Monday, August 20, 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: New moon has better grouper fishing farther offshore

Grouper fishing inside 160 feet continues to be a challenge due to the proximity of the new moon. This moon phase has the currents offshore moving at a pace that would rival a small river. Look for the bite to improve as we move away from this phase....
Updated: 7 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Snook numbers dwindling as spawn season nears its end

Luckily, we havenít had any signs of Red Tide in North Pinellas, so fishing last week was full of action, as long as we were in an area with moving water. Snook are still staging along the points near the passes, however, the numbers are dwindling as...
Published: 08/18/18
Updated: 08/19/18

Captainís Corner: With Red Tide, a big decline in fish

This past mid-week we were scouting for the St. Pete Open spearing tournament, which was held Saturday (more at stpeteopen.com/). We ran directly west of Venice to see if the Red Tide had made its way from the shoreline to 50 miles or more from shore...
Published: 08/17/18
Updated: 08/18/18

Captainís Corner: Variety of baits gives you options

Tossing a quarter-inch mesh net will fill your well with bait ranging from snapper bait all the way up to slab-sized redfish baits. Having a variety of bait opens up options. Snapper have been just about anywhere there is some kind of structure. Taki...
Published: 08/17/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing is still hot even as Red Tide looms

As of now, Pinellas and all of Tampa Bay are still being spared of Red Tide. It has been sitting in Manatee County for a while and has yet to push further north. I am on the water almost every day. Bait has been easy to get, and fishing continues to ...
Published: 08/15/18

Captainís Corner: Mangrove snapper on fly

Mangrove (gray) snapper are often encountered while drifting the flats this time of year as they school in preparation for spawning later. When using a typical 8 or 9 weight fly rod with size 1 or 1/0 baitfish type flies while targeting redfish and t...
Published: 08/13/18
Updated: 08/14/18

Captainís Corner: Cast net skills come in handy

Threadfin herring and scaled sardines can be found up and down our Suncoast with ease. Most bait is on the smaller side, so have a quarter-inch mess cast net to prevent the smaller baits from getting stuck in the net. Spanish mackerel, kingfish, cobi...
Published: 08/11/18
Updated: 08/13/18

Captainís Corner: Head offshore to target mangrove snapper

Inshore fishing can slow in the late summer as afternoon water temperatures climb near 90. Many shallow-water fish are lethargic and reluctant to bite, so we run all of our trips offshore. Clean, blue water and a wider variety of fishing options are ...
Published: 08/10/18
Updated: 08/11/18
Captainís Corner: Summertime is running out, but tarpon are still strong

Captainís Corner: Summertime is running out, but tarpon are still strong

As we wind down into the last part of summer, most of us get focused on getting the kids back to school. While it can be a bit overwhelming as life just seems to be too busy, keep in mind that downtime on the water is important, and fishing this mont...
Published: 08/07/18
Updated: 08/09/18

Captainís Corner: Itís a good time for snook and trout

Snook and trout have been at the top of the list this past week. Early starts have been the key for fooling the better snook, while the trout seem willing to bite for a few hours after sun-up. The pre-dawn snook bite has been solid lately. Target are...
Published: 08/06/18