September 27th, 2017

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

Offshore gulf fishing has pretty much returned to normal after the high winds and rain from the recent hurricane that thankfully spared us from a direct hit. Waters were silty for awhile but north and east winds quickly cleared the majority of the water column which allowed us to target pelagic (trolling) fish such as Spanish mackerel, barracuda, bonita with a bonus of a few kingfish. The larger Spanish mackerel have been concentrated on hard bottom areas from one to three miles offshore. It has not been necessary to seek out feeding birds to find the mackerel. Deploying lines out as soon as hard bottom with a few bait stacks of bait are seen on the bottom machine has resulted in often non stop action. The mackerel have been smaller on the near shore and mid- water reefs along with bonita and numerous blue runners. Using fresh caught nose hooked blue runners on a stinger rig sized to the bait presented will result in drag screaming action from barracuda which are now feeding heavily in anticipation of there migrating from the area once the water drops to 72 degrees.
Bottom fishing has begun to recover for those having some patience and using squid and sardines as their primary bait along with heavy chumming with small slivers of cut bait. Divers are reporting 6 foot or less visibility in waters as deep as 100 feet caused by sediment slowly filtering down the water column. The bottom fish still have to feed and the use of baits with smell will result in a greater chance of success.
Deploying a flat line while bottom fishing while chumming will result in some surprises at this time of year. Kingfish, mahi-mahi, blackfin tuna, Spanish mackerel and a cobia may end up in your chum line on any day.