Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Captain's Corner

Hungry migratory fish looking for a bite

This week, cobia, kingfish and sharks began moving to many of our favorite fishing holes.

Where's the bait? Normally, Spanish sardines, blue runners and cigar minnows settle on many of the reefs along our coastline. We managed to fill the live wells adequately, but it has been a chore compared to other springs. All month new batches of migratory fish will move through. Without the food source readily available, they'll attack most any bait on a hook. After such a long journey, their appetites are huge. For now, we will have short visits from these predators. They are simply trying to find the bait, too. If they don't find it here, they will move on. The bait will eventually arrive en masse, allowing these bigger fish to stick around longer.

Kingfish: We started catching kingfish this week in 70 feet of water. For the most part, these fish are the regular schoolie size of 5 to 10 pounds. Tossing a live threadfin herring off the back of the boat produced numerous attacks. One of my clients got quite a thrill early this week while fishing for grouper. Jimmy Verner dropped a live pinfish toward the bottom. Instead, a 30-pound kingfish grabbed it. A 60-pound test line with drags locked down tight is normal to prevent grouper from swimming into the rocks. In this case, the king had a circle hook in the corner of the jaw, so it could not bite through the monofilament leader. It took everything Verner had to stop the giant mackerel from reaching its high-speed run. After 100 feet of locked drag, the exhausted king was boatside. In most cases like this, the king wins by snapping the line, reaching 30 mph in seconds. The traditional method of king fishing is a light drag, wire leader and lots of line on the reel. This allows the kingfish to take its run, then tire.

Sharks: Big bull sharks have shown around the boat a few times this week. They cruise through the lines once the action with other fish gets intense. These brawny sharks can often ruin a great bite from other species. Either throwing a baited hook into its path or leaving the area are your options. We often opt to catch the big sharks because they put up a great fight. Large spinner sharks have also started migrating our way. These sharks not only fight hard, but they often jump out of the water in hopes of tossing the hook. It's quite a sight to see a 150-pound shark spin out of the water. Any chunk of fish that is in the area will get their attention, since that's the real reason why they found you.

Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or see

Hungry migratory fish looking for a bite 04/15/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 15, 2010 10:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Kids still playing for all the marbles — literally

    Human Interest

    In this world of pompous athletes, overbearing coaches, money-grubbing owners and a win-at-all-costs mindset, it's easy to become jaded.

    Eli Murphy, right, leans in to give Sierra Ricci the traditional king and queen kiss at the National Marbles Championship in Wildwood, N.J. Both of Allegheny County Pa., they won the girls and boys championship of the 94th annual National Marbles Tournament. [Associated Press]
  2. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  3. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  4. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    John Tortorella, in Tampa in 2014 for the 10-year Stanley Cup win party, will return next season for the team’s anniversary event.
  5. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Matt Duffy is expected to resume his baseball activities once the stitches heal.