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. Little separates McElwain and Muschamp eras of futility at Florida


     Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain watches the second quarter of the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville.
  2. Mikhail Sergachev scores twice as Lightning shuts out Blue Jackets (w/ video)

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mikhail Sergachev said he blacked out for a few seconds after his first NHL goal Thursday night, a rocket slap shot from the point.

    Mikhail Sergachev, front, looks like he’s very in the moment with teammate Dan Girardi after scoring his first NHL goal, though he says he blacked out for a bit. He scores again in the second.
  3. Dodgers rout Cubs 11-1 to win pennant, head to World Series for first time since '88


    CHICAGO — Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

    The Dodgers celebrate their Game 5 victory Thursday night over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, putting Los Angeles in the World Series for the first time since 1988.
  4. Joe Smith's takeaways from Thursday's Lightning-Blue Jackets game

    Lightning Strikes

    While Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov grab the headlines, don't sleep on their linemate, Vladislav Namestnikov. Namestnikov is far from a third wheel, with eight points in eight games. "He might not have the names the other two have, but he's as pivotal and vital to that line as the others," coach Jon Cooper said.

  5. Lightning journal: Derrick Brooks helps J.T. Brown make a difference

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown's decision to stop his anthem protest began to take shape just a few days after he raised his right fist before the Oct. 7 game against the Panthers in Sunrise.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown (23) on the ice at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17).