The windy, rainy weather that plagued us when a low-pressure front stalled in the gulf has subsided, leaving us with the decision about whether to go trolling or bottom fishing. The easy choice is to do both if the trip's length allows. Spanish mackerel are our first target on a combination trip. They can be caught in any number of ways, but trolling small spoons behind trolling sinkers or No. 1 planers is almost a sure thing. John's Pass has a fairly lengthy no-wake zone before reaching the gulf, and for years we have started our trolling inside the bay with surprising results. The idle speed of about 5 knots is just about right for trolling. We have caught a wide variety of fish, including lizard fish, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, trout, small gag grouper, kingfish and sea bass. If the mackerel are cooperating, we will often continue trolling until we reach the JP marker. All the artificial reefs are holding large quantities of baitfish and their predators. Spanish mackerel, barracuda, bonita and sharks have also taken up residence. Gag grouper fishing has been less than spectacular for us since the season opened. Our target of choice has been red grouper on the Swiss cheese bottom in 70 to 90 feet of water. Paying close attention to your fish finder and targeting the transitional area where the sand meets the rocky area will produce larger fish. It pays to downsize tackle for some anglers to take advantage of species that are difficult to catch on regular grouper tackle. Yellowtail snapper, vermilion snapper, porgies, sea bass and white grunts are much easier to catch on 2/0 snapper rigs using spinning tackle. Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.