Tripletail: As the gulf temperature continues to drop, many species of fish are migrating south along the coast following the warmer water. Along with fall kingfish, Spanish mackerel and cobia, tripletails are moving from north to south. For the next month or so, these odd but tasty fish will be passing through the bay area. Most can be found just below the surface, near or directly below floating objects such as crab trap buoys and debris.
To catch them: Most tripletail fishing is done by sight-casting. Watch for tripletail suspended beneath floating objects. Because it's now stone crab season, thousands of potential targets are in the gulf to examine. By running along a line of crab buoys, you can get a quick look at lots of places a tripletail might hang around. Watch for dark shapes hovering below the floats. They are difficult to notice at first. After you see a few, you will never pass another buoy again without glancing beneath it.
Trip tips: If you spook tripletail by running too close, stop the boat and wait a few minutes. They almost always return to the surface in the same place once things quiet down. These fish have very small mouths and thus often ignore large or even medium-size baitfish. To solve this problem, try cutting your live baits into 1-inch chunks. Drifting these fresh chunks 1 foot below a small float has produced many hookups from stubborn fish.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 944-3474 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.