November 27th, 2017

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

In most years we tend to start forgetting about trolling and devote our trips solely to bottom fishing after Thanksgiving. This year has proved to be an exception. Kingfish have been available from 100 yards from shore at the mouths of passes all the way offshore to the 60 foot depths. The larger solitary fish have been hugging the shoreline in search of Spanish mackerel, sardines and blue runners. Trolling any of these baits as slow as you can go with a stinger rig sized to the bait may produce a “smoker”. It takes a lot of patience to target these large fish and we prefer to usually fish further offshore in search of 8 to 12 pound “schoolies” which will be found ravaging the large schools of bait that have not left the area yet. The mid water artificial reefs and wrecks in 40 to 60 feet of water are great places to start, but we have been experiencing the best fishing about a mile away from the structure on hard bottom areas holding the bait which will be either seen on the fish finder or may be revealed by diving birds. Trolling a #1 planer with a #1 spoon along with a #2 planer with a large spoon will quickly reveal if there are feeding kings in the area. Once located using the MOB key on the GPS will allow you to return to the strike zone. Switching to light spinning or bait casting tackle and trolling stinger rigged live baits caught on site with a sabiki to match the hatch will produce more sport than sticking with the planers.
Bottom fishing for both red and gag grouper has been spotty at best for us, but mangrove, Lane, and yellowtail snapper fishing has more than filled the gap for us. 70 and 80 foot depths have not been as productive as the 60 foot depths and on several days we have had to come back into shallower depths to find the targeted snapper along with a few grouper.