August 27th, 2017

Captain’s Corner for August 29 Dave Zalewski 460-9893

Trolling for Spanish mackerel, catch and release bonita, barracuda and the occasional kingfish allows us to keep the boat moving and provide some relief from these dog days of summer. The shipping channel from markers 7 & 8 shoreward towards shore have been the “goto” area for Spanish mackerel and the various species of sharks that inhabit local waters in the summer. This year has proven dramatically different with greater success being achieved by fishing from markers 5 7 6 westward. The key is finding a set of markers that is holding large amounts of bait. This can be often done by visual surface observation, but much better is paying close attention to the sonar when going around a marker. If the bait is deep, catching their predators is a matter of presenting your offering at the depth the bait is seen. Trolling hardware may require the use of a #2 or 3 planer. Live bait trolling may call for large trolling leads or downriggers. Mackerel seem to hit throughout the water column, but the kingfish that we are catching are inclined to stay deeper requiring the use of the #3 planer set up.
Grouper fishing remains spotty with the gap being filled by Lane, mangrove, and vermillion snapper. 1/0 hooks using either the conventional swivel sinker with a long leader or a knocker rig employing the smallest weight that will reach the bottom has been the key to success. Our best grouper catches have occurred in areas where bonita can be seen crashing into schools of small baitfish. Using the sonar to insure that hard bottom, not necessarily a ledge , is the key to success