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CAPTAIN'S CORNER

Offshore action continues to be hot for kingfish and Spanish mackerel.

The shipwrecks Betty Rose, Tramp Steamer and Sheridan are producing limits of kingfish for hardware trollers and live-bait fishermen. Lovie and Dean Bouchard caught a limit of kings in one hour Wednesday while trolling hardware over the Betty Rose.

The most productive spoon was blue and trolled behind a No. 2 planer. The leaders between the planer and spoon should be at least 20 feet. Most of the kingfish weighed 8-15 pounds.

We then targeted small ledges for grouper and snapper the rest of the half-day trip. We caught several grouper in 40 feet. The grouper were feeding on frozen sardines and live bait.

In 60 feet, the bottom temperature is still 61 degrees and the surface 71 degrees. The temperatures indicate that kingfish should be in our area for three weeks.

Pods of Spanish sardines, threadfin and cigar minnows are heavy from Sarasota to Tarpon Springs.

Lifetime residents Mike Hubbard and Sid Rice have said the live bait in the Gulf of Mexico is the best they have seen in 20 years. Live bait has also attracted sailfish. Numerous sails are being caught in 50-70 feet of water.

_ Larry Hoffman charters the Enterprise out of Kingfish Wharf, Treasure Island. Call. (813) 430-3474.

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