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Published Sep. 13, 2005

Every spring, large schools of king mackerel follow bait to their summer feeding grounds in the northern gulf. This annual run is almost at its peak, making for short boat rides and plenty of fish. The easiest way to get in on the action is to grab a planer and spoon and head to any hard bottom or some wrecks and troll. This method is the simplest to get fast action and saves you time trying to get live bait. If you're looking for a large fish, live or natural bait is the way to go. If the water is clear, the big fish should chase the bait close to the beaches. Watch for birds diving on bait chased up by the big kings. If you don't like long boat rides and big fuel bills but grouper is on your menu, put the boat in gear and try the shallow, hard bottom and ledges. A heavy concentration of gags still hangs in water less than 50 feet deep. In water that's muddied up, sardines cut in half do a great job of producing fish. This hot action will wind down soon and grouper will move out to the summer feeding grounds, so take advantage of the close-to-shore action.

_ Joe Genovese captains the Sea Cap III out of Maximo Marina. Call (813) 343-5931.