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Mackerel, snook, trout, tarpon: Take your pick

By RICK FRAZIER

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 19, 2002


King mackerel season is in full swing and they are being caught from Anna Maria Island to Clearwater.

King mackerel season is in full swing and they are being caught from Anna Maria Island to Clearwater.

Spanish mackerel also are a sure thing. Look along the beaches for hoards of terns, gulls and pelicans. Small silver spoons are easiest, if you don't feel like catching sardines and threadfins. Pier anglers should have no problem loading up.

Speaking of piers, local regulars are catching red drum, snook and speckled trout at night in the lights. Snook season ends April 30, so if you want to catch a keeper, you had better get busy.

Tarpon are on the increase inside the bay. All the major bridges are holding fish, including the Gandy, Howard Frankland and Courtney Campbell. Nighttime is the right time. Dead shad on the bottom will provide as good a chance as any.

Florida pompano can be found near the swash channels that parallel the beaches. Use live crabs or small yellow jigs.

Speckled trout action is as good as it gets on the grass flats. Limits of specks are being caught on light jigs. Shrimp imitation tails are hard for the trout to resist. Put a small cigar cork about 20 inches above the jig to create a splash when the jig is twitched. The noise of the splash will drive the trout nuts.

Party boats or head boats are catching Key West grunts and sea bass on the half-day trips. For snapper and grouper action, check out the overnight trips.

-- Capt. Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376 or by e-mail at captrick@luckydawg.com.

OUTDOORS CALENDAR

Fishing

(All phone numbers begin with 727 unless noted)

SATURDAY: Children's Cancer Center's Celebrity Fishing Tournament, Tampa Bayside Marina, captain's meeting today, (813) 251-5686.

SUNDAY: Flats tournament, Jimmy Mac's, Tampa, (813) 881-0098.

UPCOMING: Old Salt King of the Beach Fish Tournament, Leverocks, St. Pete Beach, captain's meeting Thursday, 346-0498.

Seminars

TODAY: Fly-tying, Bill Jackson's, 576-4169.

SUNDAY: Beginners fishing course, Vinbob's Bait and Tackle Depot, 320-8544.

TUESDAY: Snook and redfish, Boater's World, Bradenton, (941) 747-8339.

WEDNESDAY: Fishing Charlotte Harbor, Golden Triangle Fishing Club, Days Inn, Tampa, (813) 935-3293.

WEDNESDAY: Dolphin fishing, Boater's World, Brandon, (813) 620-0997.

Boating

TONIGHT: USF Sail Club meeting, Bayboro Campus, 821-4840.

SATURDAY-SUNDAY: Clark Mills race, Clearwater Yacht Club, 447-6000.

Etc.

HUNTING REGULATIONS: Spring turkey season closes Sunday in the Northwest and Central zones.

SATURDAY: Great American Cleanup, Keep Pinellas Beautiful, 441-6005.

SATURDAY: Volunteers needed, Green Key Oyster Bar Building, Tampa BayWatch, 896-5320.

SATURDAY-SUNDAY: Overnight canoe/kayak trip, Oklawaha River, Suncoast Sierra Club, 726-8375.

SUNDAY: Bicycle ride, Gen. James A. Van Fleet State Trail, Suncoast Sierra Club, 392-2821.

WEDNESDAY: Field trip, Dunedin Hammock Park, Clearwater Audubon Society, 786-2764.

-- Send information to Outdoors, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. All items must be typed and arrive 10 days before the event. Include event name, time, address and phone number.

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