April 11th, 2017

Captain’s Corner for April 13 Dave Zalewski 460-9893

After last weeks brutal winds that caused 5 straight days of charter cancellations it was a relief to head offshore. Water temperatures were right, hovering around 71 degrees on Sunday, but water clarity certainly was not. Stops on a near shore artificial reef and a mid water one produced only two token mackerel that must have bumped into the spoons. Water clarity cleared up dramatically in 60 feet and the bottom fish co-operated well with nonstop action from red grouper, white grunts, triggerfish (which are catch and release because of the season closure until Jan 1), porgies, and yellowtail snapper with a few red snapper mixed in (also catch and release until June 1.) Two small hook (2/0) rigs with the sinker on the bottom produced some of all species and most of the smaller reef species. Water clarity was probably still not the best on the bottom so we chose to fish with frozen squid and sardines because reef fish in the gulf feed not only by sight but also by smell. Chumming with small slivers of sardine and squid helped to get the activity started.
Tuesday was started by trolling small spoons behind #1 planers about a mile offshore north of Blind Pass because the water had began to clear. Spanish mackerel were present with enough strikes to keep it interesting. Venturing west to the St Petersburg Beach Artificial Reef produced a few more mackerel because of better water clarity. Every fish caught there was at the center of the reef which is home to a 205 foot long sunken barge. Pay dirt was hit at South County Artificial Reef where we found ourselves alone surrounded by schools of baitfish frantically trying to escape hungry mackerel. Again small spoons behind #1 planers produced, but more sporty fishing occurred once we switched to light spinning tackle using a small trolling sinker and the small gold and silver spoons.