August 11th, 2017

Captain’s corner for August 13 Dave Zalewski 460-9893

Because of the heat a lot of our charters are opting for an early leave and a half or ¾ day trip. Because of time constraints which limit how far we can run offshore, most of our ½ day trips are spent trolling for Spanish mackerel, bonita, kingfish and barracuda. Trolling at between 5.5 and 6 knots keeps the air flowing and provides for a comfortable time on the water. All of the near shore artificial reefs such as Madeira Beach and Treasure Island, along with the mid water reefs such as South County and Indian Shores provide an opportunity for non stop action when fished properly. Terminal tackle selection should consist of #1 and 2 planers with a ball bearing snap swivel attached to at least 30 feet of 40 or 50 pound monofilament leader with a spoon that matches the size of the baitfish in the area. If baitfish are not visible, starting with a 00 spoon on the #1 planer and a 0 or #1 spoon on the #2 planer is a good starting point.
Many anglers make the mistake of going to the published GPS co-ordinates of an artificial reef and staying close to them. All of the reefs have material scattered all over the permitted areas. The near shore reefs are 2000 feet long by 300 feet wide which provides a large area. The mid water reefs are a ¼ mile square around the center with large high profile structure scattered all over the area. Invaluable information on the reefs can be found at
On our longer trips we have been starting out trolling on the mid water reefs and then continuing to the 70 foot depths in search of grouper and the various snappers. Grouper fishing has been spotty at best, with mangrove, Lane, and vermillion snapper along with white grunts providing the best action by downsizing tackle to either 2/0 or 3/0 hooks and lighter leaders.