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Captain's Corner

King and Spanish mackerel bite improves in Tampa Bay and Gulf of Mexico

What's hot: King mackerel fishing, which has been spotty, has improved. The fish are ranging from just over the legal limit, 24 inches, to many above 24 pounds, and they're being caught at the usual haunts, such as the length of the Egmont channel from markers 9 and 10 west, the Short Jack Hole and midwater artificial reefs. The smaller cousins, Spanish mackerel, are crashing large schools of bait, which can be found from within 100 yards of shore to water 100 feet deep. They can be caught by trolling small spoons near the baitfish or trolling baitfish, which can be caught using Sabiki rigs.

The absence of high winds and rain has led to extremely clear water, allowing anglers to see the large schools of barracuda patrolling most of the artificial reefs and wrecks. Slow-trolled live blue runners, tube lures, large spoons and plugs trolled at 6 knots will produce.

Red grouper are active in 80- to 90-foot depths. Gag grouper action has slowed in 20 to 40 feet because of migration to 60 to 90 feet. Live baits are producing larger fish.

Notable catches: Bob Ostrom on the Double O returned Friday with large cobia, blackfin tuna and kingfish caught on flat lines deployed while bottom fishing in 90 feet. Erich Lichtenberger of Betts Tackle had a large sailfish on for several jumps while fishing for kingfish last week.

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

King and Spanish mackerel bite improves in Tampa Bay and Gulf of Mexico 05/10/09 [Last modified: Sunday, May 10, 2009 8:18pm]

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