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)

Sea wall fishing done right

MADEIRA BEACH — The best anglers always "prefish" a tournament. Fish move. Conditions change. A little reconnaissance goes a long way, especially when there is big money at stake.

That's why Travis Palladeno, king of the blue-water hunters, found himself a seat on the dock at John's Pass Village one recent summer evening.

"I need all the help I can get," said Palladeno, one of the Gulf Coast's top deep-water fishermen who recently added the title of Madeira Beach mayor to his list of accomplishments. "This is a big deal."

The event Mayor Palladeno referred to was the upcoming Old Salt Summer Sea Wall Tournament. Everybody knows that Palladeno, when he's not in City Hall, runs Live Wire Fishing Charters and can run 150 miles offshore and bring back 50-pound grouper. But, when put to the task, could this blue-water hunter catch a monster sailcat off a sea wall?

"The mayor's job keeps me pretty busy," Palladeno said. "But I still get out and fish as often as I can."

Dane Karcher, a charter boat captain who docks his boat on John's Pass, also specializes in big-game hunting, both with rod and reel, and spear gun. But in recent years he has become a master of slaying them off a sea wall.

"I had to," said Karcher, one of the Tampa Bay area's top free divers. "I'm a dad. You have to know how to fish off a sea wall."

Karcher and his 8-year-old son, Reef, regularly fish for anything that bites off the dock where he moors his boat.

"Believe it or not, the fishing is pretty good," he said. "Everything moves in and out of here. It is like a freeway for fish."

So if you are planning to fish this week's Old Salt Summer Sea Wall Tournament (remember, it's not just for kids), Karcher has a few tips for you:

• Use the tide: Sea wall fishing always is best at high tide; the higher the water, the more numerous the fish.

• Watch the wind: Keep the wind at your back. You don't want to cast into the breeze.

• Go light: Rig a spinning rod with 15-pound test. Cut Sabiki rigs in half and use them to catch bait. Then use the pinfish you catch to hook a gag grouper.

• Go big: Always have a least one heavy rod rigged with a cut mullet or other enticing bait in case a tarpon or shark swims by.

• Stay busy: Keep the kids casting, cutting bait, rigging lines; anything to prevent them from getting bored. If that doesn't work, grab some ice cream then try some more fishing.

To contact Dane Karcher, go to or call (727) 647-6919.

.fast facts

Old Salt Summer

Sea Wall Tournament

When/where: 6 p.m. Tuesday; Gators Cafe and Saloon, Treasure Island

Sign up: 5:30 p.m., $5 entry fee

Notable: Lines go in the water at 6 p.m., and the competition lasts two hours. The heaviest fish of any kind wins. The event will pay out the top three places. Awards are based on the number of entries. The Old Salt Fishing Foundation encourages the release of all fish.

Information: Call (727) 216-6601 or go to

Sea wall fishing done right 07/04/13 [Last modified: Thursday, July 4, 2013 9:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. HomeTeam 100: Players 21-30


    TAMPA - Jesuit linebacker Anthony Nelson will help lead the Tigers into the 2017 season. Taken 5-17-17 by Scott Purks
  2. For starters: Cobb on the hill against Orioles



    Alex Cobb takes the mound, hoping to duplicate his performance from Friday when he was three outs away from pitching a complete game.
  3. Bucs DE Jacquies Smith (ACL) will start on active PUP list


    In the first quarter of a season opening win at Altanta last season, Jacquies Smith suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while attemping to cover a punt.

    Jacquies Smith will begin training camp on the active Physically Unable to Perform list.
  4. Odorizzi on disabled list with lower back strain


    Odorizzi (6-4, 4.47) has been victimized this season by the long ball, allowing 23 home runs in his 18 starts. He will miss starts in homer-friendly Yankee Stadium and against the homer-happy Astros in Houston next week.

    Jake Odorizzi was placed on the 10-day disabled list this morning.
  5. Bucs rookies Beckwith, McNichols cleared for training camp


    The Bucs took a calculated risk on two injured players that were discounted in the NFL draft and it may pay off.

    LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwiith (51) fell to the third round after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a game against Florida Nov. 19.