June 11th, 2017

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

On ¾ or full day trips we give our charter clients the option of doing some trolling and bottom fishing, bottom fishing only or trolling only. Most like to do some trolling on high profile structure such as artificial reefs and wrecks on the way to the deeper depths to go bottom fishing. Trolling lately has not been up to the level we experienced at this time last year. Spanish mackerel have been scattered, barracuda in short supply and the kingfish have seemed to have left the area. The schools of baitfish that we are used to seeing have been nonexistent and that may be the reason that trolling has been off. Every day is different offshore and tomorrow may very well be the day that the bait and their attendant predators show up in force.
We have been concentrating our bottom fishing efforts on the 70 to 100 foot depths and have been well rewarded with a variety of bottom fish. Lane, yellowtail, and vermillion snapper in numbers are found on the swiss cheese hard bottom areas in depths deeper than 80 feet. The key to coming back with a colorful box of these great eating fish is to downsize tackle to as light as possible. 12 to 20 pound tackle, the same as used for fresh water bass fishing is ideal for these fish . Small 2/0 or 3/0 circle hooks, as light of a swivel sinker as possible to get the bait to the bottom or a light knocker rig, where a sliding sinker is allowed to butt directly to the hook is all that is needed. Squid strips or chunks of Spanish sardine is the bait of choice. Grouper also inhabit these same areas and will take the same baits when attracted to the feeding commotion. It is a test of knots, angler skill and luck to land one on the light sporting tackle, but it is often done because of the type of bottom which does not have structure that the fish can wrap itself around.